Stenella frontalis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Delphinidae

Scientific Name: Stenella frontalis
Species Authority: (G. Cuvier, 1829)
Common Name(s):
English Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Bridled Dolphin
French Dauphin Tacheté De L'Atlantique
Spanish Delfín Manchado Del Atlántico, Delfín Pintado
Stenella plagiodon Cope, 1866
Taxonomic Notes: Recent genetic work suggests that the genus Stenella is paraphyletic, and it is likely that the Delphininae will be restructured in coming years (LeDuc et al. 1999). This species might move to a different genus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K.A., Karkzmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y. , Wells, R.S. & Wilson, B.
Reviewer(s): Rojas-Bracho, L. & Smith, B.D.
Although the species is widespread, abundance has not been estimated for the mid- and eastern Atlantic. Bycatches in West Africa are of unknown scale and potentially large.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Data Deficient (DD)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found only in the Atlantic Ocean, from southern Brazil to the United States (New England) in the west, and to the coast of Africa in the east (the exact limits off West Africa are not well known – Perrin 2002a,b). A discontinuity in the range of the species exists in the western South Atlantic Ocean (Moreno et al. 2005).

The map shows where the species may occur based on oceanography. The species has not been recorded for all the states within the hypothetical range as shown on the map. States for which confirmed records of the species exist are included in the list of native range states. States within the hypothetical range but for which no confirmed records exist are included in the Presence Uncertain list.
Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Equatorial Guinea; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mauritania; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Portugal (Azores, Madeira); Puerto Rico; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Spain (Canary Is.); Togo; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Data from surveys in the 1990s were used to estimate abundance in the northern Gulf of Mexico at 30,947 (CV=27%), although NMFS considers this an underestimate due to survey limitations (Waring et al. 2006). There are no data available from West Africa, but the few records available suggest that it is either not abundant or that it has an offshore distribution there (Van Waerebeek et al. 2000). A geographically and possibly genetically isolated population may occur off southern Brazil from 21–33°S (Moreno et al. 2005).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Distribution is mostly over the offshore continental shelf, but these dolphins also inhabit deep oceanic waters. The species is known from far-offshore Gulf-stream waters and the mid-tropical Atlantic (Perrin et al. 1987). The large, heavily spotted form of the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin along the south-eastern and Gulf coasts of the United States inhabits the continental shelf, usually being found inside or near the 200 m isobath (within 250–350 km of the coast), but sometimes coming into very shallow water adjacent to the beach seasonally, perhaps in pursuit of migratory fish (Perrin et al. 1987). In the Bahamas, Atlantic spotted dolphins spend much time in shallow water (6–12 m) over sand flats. The smaller and less-spotted forms that inhabit more pelagic offshore waters and waters around oceanic islands are less well known in their habitat requirements (Perrin et al. 1994, Jefferson and Schiro 1997). In the north-central and western Gulf of Mexico. Atlantic Spotted Dolphins were consistently found in the shallowest waters on the continental shelf and along the shelf break within the 250-m isobath (Davis et al. 1998). In addition, the bottom depth gradient (sea floor slope) was less for Atlantic Spotted Dolphins than for any other species.

A wide variety of epi- and mesopelagic fishes and squids, as well as benthic invertebrates, are taken by this species (Perrin et al. 1994). There are known to be some regional differences in diet.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are a few small targeted fisheries for this species

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No direct killing is known, other than occasional catches in small Caribbean dolphin fisheries, possible off West Africa and possibly in the Azores (Jefferson et al. 1993, Perrin et al. 1994).

Incidental catches in fisheries are known for several areas of the range (Brazil, the Caribbean, off the east coast of the United States, and in Mauritania). Some are probably also taken incidentally in tuna purse seines off the West African coast (Van Waerebeek et al. 2000). There are no reliable estimates of the number of animals taken in any of these fisheries (Jefferson et al. 1993). Atlantic spotted dolphins are also captured incidentally in gillnets in Brazil and Venezuela (Zerbini and Kotas 1998). In Venezuela, the dolphin carcasses are used for shark bait and for human consumption (Perrin et al. 1994). Mignucci-Giannoni et al. (1999) found that the most common human-related causes observed in strandings were entanglement and accidental captures, followed by animals being shot or speared. Niero et al. (1999) reported that in 1995, a large number of Atlantic spotted dolphins washed ashore on the sandy beaches north of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. Workers surveyed the coastline to assess the number of corpses and the cause of death, which was attributed to fishery interaction.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES.

Abundance and bycatch in fisheries off West Africa should be investigated.

Citation: Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K.A., Karkzmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y. , Wells, R.S. & Wilson, B. 2012. Stenella frontalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T20732A17832795. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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