Sightings of baby spinner and spotted dolphins

Recently the research team set out towards the island of Lanaʻi to continue our odontocete and marine debris surveys. Around 9:30 am, we came across a pod of approximately 100 spinner dolphins, including five calves. Even better, two of the calves were neonates: newborn dolphins!

Neonates can be distinguished by their small size: only 75-80 centimeters long in spinner dolphins — about the length of a skateboard. They also have “fetal folds” on their sides. These vertical, lightly-colored “stripes” are the result of being folded up inside mom, and they fade with time as the calf grows.

After spending just under an hour with the spinner dolphin pod, we continued our survey and were rewarded again, this time with an active pod of approximately 45 pantropical spotted dolphins, including six calves.

Not only was it great to see so many calves in one day, but these sightings were also sources of valuable data. Photographs and behavioral data collected during the time we spent with these animals will help build our photo ID catalogs and further our understanding of the amazing dolphins living here.

Hawaiian Spinner and Spotted Dolphin

June 22 Dolphin Survey

Over the past month, the research team has spent most of its time in the office. Very windy weather conditions have prohibited us from doing odontocete (toothed whale) surveys, as it is very challenging to spot dolphins if there are whitecaps on the water. However, we finally had a break this past weekend and spent two days on the water, conducting surveys and collecting marine debris. We were delighted when we had a rare sighting -a pod of spotted and spinner dolphins interacting together! The team collected a number of photographs for our photo-ID catalogs. A good thing that we made the most of those good weather days, because the wind has picked up again and we are now back in the office awaiting our next opportunity to get back on the water.