|Scientific Name:||Delphinus delphis Linnaeus, 1758|
|Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Until 1994, all common dolphins around the world were classified as a single species: D. delphis. However, it is now known that at least two species exist within the genus: the Short-beaked (D. delphis) and Long-beaked (D. capensis) Common Dolphins (Heyning and Perrin 1994). There is also a distinct short-beaked form in the Black Sea, the taxonomic status of which has not been adequately clarified (however, it is currently thought to be a subspecies: D. delphis ponticus Amaha, 1994).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K., Karczmarski, 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. (Cetacean Red List Authority)|
Despite ongoing threats to local populations, the species is widespread and very abundant (with a total population in excess of four million), and none of these threats is believed to be resulting in a major global population decline.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
|Range Description:||The short-beaked common dolphin is an oceanic species that is widely distributed in tropical to cool temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Perrin 2002), from nearshore waters to thousands of kilometers offshore. They regularly occur in some enclosed seas, such as the Okhotsk Sea and Sea of Japan, and separate subpopulations exist in the Mediterranean and Black seas. Short-beaked common dolphins may occur in parts of the Indian Ocean around southeastern Africa and southern Australia, but previous records of this species in other parts of the Indian Ocean and in waters of Taiwan are now thought to have been of long-beaked common dolphins (D. capensis; Jefferson and Van Waerebeek 2002).|
Native:Albania; Algeria; Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Honduras; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Mexico; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Namibia; Netherlands; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Panama; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Saint Barthélemy; Senegal; Slovenia; South Africa; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States; Western Sahara
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:|
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – western central; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – western central; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – southeast
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||This is a very abundant species, with many available estimates for the various areas where it occurs. In the Pacific, 2,963,000 (CV=24%) was estimated for the eastern tropical Pacific (Gerrodette and Forcada 2002), and an average of 352.000 (CV = 18%) was estimated for the US west coast based on surveys between 1991 and 2005 (Barlow and Forney in press). Off California, common dolphins show seasonal and inter-annual changes in abundance due to shifts in distribution (Forney and Barlow 1998).|
In the Atlantic, abundance in European continental shelf waters was estimated at 63,400 (95%CI=27,000-149,000) in 2005 (SCANS-II project; P. Hammond pers. comm.). Offshore, abundance in a block bounded by 53-57ºN and 18-29ºW was estimated at 273,000 (95%CI=153,000-435,000) in 1995 (Cañadas et al. in press). West of the Bay of Biscay, 62,000 common dolphins were estimated in the fishing grounds of the albacore tuna driftnet fishery in 1993 (Goujon 1996). In the western North Atlantic, 121,000 (CV=0.23) were estimated to occur (Waring et al. 2006).
In the western Mediterranean, abundance has been estimated at 19,400 (95%CI=15,300-22,800) in the northern Alborán Sea between 2000 and 2004 (Cañadas 2006). Once one of the most common species in the Mediterranean Sea, the short-beaked common dolphin has experienced a generalized and major decline during the last 30-40 years (Bearzi et al. 2003). Dramatic negative trends were recorded in portions of the central Mediterranean, particularly in the northern Adriatic Sea and in the eastern Ionian Sea (Bearzi et al. 2004; 2006). Recent genetic studies indicate that population structure within the Mediterranean reflects differences in distribution pattern and habitat use by short-beaked common dolphins in the eastern (where the species is predominantly coastal) and western (where it is predominantly pelagic) portions of the basin (Natoli 2004). Genetic exchange between short-beaked common dolphins from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, to the extent that it occurs, appears to involve predominantly animals from the Alborán Sea (Natoli 2004).
The population size in the Black Sea is unknown. Line transect surveys have been conducted recently to estimate common dolphin abundance in a few parts of the range. The survey areas are small relative to the total range of the subspecies. Results suggest that current population size is at least several 10,000s, and possibly 100,000 or more (Birkun 2006). By the mid 1960s, the Black Sea subpopulation collapsed due to long-running overexploitation, and a reduction of 70% was inferred. However, directed takes continued until 1983 when cetacean hunting finally ceased. The population has not recovered (Birkun 2006).
|Current Population Trend:||Unknown|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Short-beaked common dolphins appear to have a preference for upwelling-modified waters, areas with steep sea floor relief, and extensive shelf areas, but they are widespread in warm temperate and tropical waters (Evans 1994). In the eastern tropical Pacific, they prefer equatorial and subtropical waters with a shallow thermocline, relatively large seasonal changes in surface temperature, and seasonal upwelling (Reilly 1990; Fiedler and Reilly 1994). |
Mediterranean common dolphins frequent coastal and upper slope waters (Bearzi et al. 2003). In the Black Sea, common dolphins are distributed mainly offshore and visit shallow coastal waters following seasonal aggregations and regular mass migrations of small pelagic fishes such as anchovy and sprat (Birkun 2006). Black Sea common dolphins avoid waters with low salinity, and this may explain why they do not occur in the Sea of Azov and in the Kerch Strait.
Associations with other marine mammal species are common. Schools in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) are sometimes associated with yellowfin tuna, and have thus been involved in tuna purse-seine fishing operations (Gerrodette 2002). Mixed-species groups of common, striped and Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) have been observed frequently in the pelagic waters of the Gulf of Corinth, Greece (Frantzis and Herzing 2002). The prey of common dolphins consists largely of small schooling fishes and squids (Perrin 2002).
|Use and Trade:||This species was previously harvested in the Black Sea, but this fishery was closed in 1983.|
The common dolphin is one of the most prominent by-catches of pelagic purse-seine, driftnet and trawl fisheries. In the ETP, common dolphins are sometimes found in association with yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, and annual incidental mortality in the tuna purse-seine fishery of this species has been as high as 24,307 (in 1986) (IATTC, 2006). Since the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) imposed per-vessel stock limits on the international fleet, the mortality declined to 325 in 2005 (IATTC 2006). Takes have been recorded in other purse-seine fisheries in the Indian Ocean and off the west coast of Africa (Simmons 1968). Short-beaked common dolphins are the most commonly killed cetacean in the U.S. drift gillnet fishery for sharks and swordfish, with about 2,100 estimated killed between 1990 and 2002 (Julian and Beeson 1998; Carretta et al. 2005); measures have been in place to reduce cetacean takes since 1996, and bycatch levels are not a population level concern (Carretta et al. 2006).
Incidental capture of common dolphins in European Atlantic fisheries has been well studied in recent years, and as a result of recent EU legislation, on-board observer programs are being carried out in most of the fisheries considered to have a potentially significant bycatch of common dolphins. Northridge (2006) showed that bycatches of common dolphins in European pelagic trawl fisheries probably total around 800 animals per year in UK and French pelagic trawl fisheries for sea bass. Annual catch rates in the UK sector of this fishery have been falling in recent years and the annual average total mortality recently (2000-2006) has been 170 animals in this sector. Other bycatches in the same area are known to occur in gill nets, tangle nets and possibly other fisheries (ICES 2005; Northridge 2006).
In the western North Atlantic, 105 common dolphins are taken on average each year by sink gill nets and bottom trawls (Waring et al. 2006). By-catches have also been reported from other areas (Crespo et al. 2000; Bearzi et al. 2003).
The main factors thought to have contributed, singly or in synergy, to the decline of Mediterranean short-beaked common dolphins include: 1) incidental mortality in fishing gear, especially driftnets, 2) reduced availability of prey caused by overfishing and habitat degradation, 3) contamination by xenobiotic chemicals resulting in immunosuppression and reproductive impairment, and 4) environmental changes such as increased water temperatures affecting ecosystem dynamics (Bearzi et al. 2003, 2006). A recent survey focusing on the Moroccan driftnet fishing fleet estimated that about 12,000-15,000 dolphins are killed annually around the Strait of Gibraltar (Tudela et al. 2004).
At least 840,000 dolphins were taken from the Black Sea from 1946 until a ban of small cetacean hunting was declared in Turkey in 1983. The take was certainly much greater because that value did not incorporate catch statistics from Romania (whole period), Turkey (before 1976 and after 1981) and Bulgaria (before 1958) (Birkun 2006).
Reduced prey availability is considered to be a major threat to Black Sea common dolphins (Bushuyev 2000). Of two mass mortality events that killed an unknown but certainly large number of common dolphins in 1990 and 1994 (Krivokhizhin and Birkun 1999), the latter was recognised as the result of a morbillivirus epizootic. However, both die-offs coincided with a drastic (8 to 12 fold) decline in the abundance of the two main common dolphin prey species, anchovy and sprat. Such a reduction was caused by a combination of overfishing, eutrophication and the explosive increase of the introduced ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. Correlation between large die-offs of Black Sea common dolphins and prey scarcity suggests that reduced prey availability increases susceptibility to viral infection (Birkun 2006). Prey depletion caused by overfishing was considered as a main cause for the decline of common dolphins in the eastern Ionian Sea (Bearzi et al. 2006).
The species is listed in Appendix II of CITES. The Mediterranean population is listed in Appendices I and II of CMS.
Common dolphins, as with other species impacted by the ETP tuna purse-seine fishery, are managed both nationally by the coastal countries and internationally by the IATTC. The IATTC has imposed annual stock mortality limits on each purse seiner and has promulgated regulations regarding the safe release of dolphins (Bayliff 2001). In the eastern North Pacific, the U.S. drift gillnet fishery has been required to use acoustic warning devices since 1996 to reduce cetacean bycatch; however, some bycatch of Delphinus delphis has continued (Carretta et al. 2005).
The current ban on driftnet fishing in the Mediterranean should be implemented and enforced as a matter of priority.
Amaha, A. 1994. Geographic Variation of the Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis (Odontoceti Delphinidae). Tokyo University of Fisheries.
Barlow, J. and Forney, K. A. 2007. Abundance and density of cetaceans in the California Current ecosystem. Fishery Bulletin.
Bayliff, W. H. 2001. Organization, functions, and achievements of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.
Bearzi, G., Holcer, D. and Notarbartolo Di Sciara, G. 2004. The role of historical dolphin takes and habitat degradation in shaping the present status of northern Adriatic cetaceans. Aquatic Conservation of Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14: 363-379.
Bearzi, G., Politi, E., Agazzi, S. and Azzellino, A. 2006. Prey depletion caused by overfishing and the decline of marine megafauna in eastern Ionian Sea coastal waters (central Mediterranean). Biological Conservation 127(4): 373-382.
Bearzi, G., Reeves, R. R., Notarbartolo Di Sciara, G., Politi., E, Canadas, A. and Mussi, B. 2003. Ecology, status and conservation of short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis in the Mediterranean Sea. Mammal Review 33: 224-252.
Birkun, A. 2006. Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis ponticus): Black Sea subspecies. In: R. R. Reeves and G. Notarbartolo di Sciara (eds), The status and distribution of cetaceans in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, pp. 16-22. IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Malaga, Spain.
Bushuyev, S. G. 2000. Depletion of forage reserve as a factor limiting population size of Black Sea dolphins. Ecological Safety of Coastal and Shelf Areas and a Composite Utilization of Shelf Resources, pp. 437-452. Proc. Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Sevastopol.
Cañadas, A. 2006. Habitat utilisation of common dolphins in the western Mediterranean. Unpublished PhD thesis, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid..
Cañadas, A., Donovan, G., Desportes, G. and Borchers, D. L. 2007. Distribution of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the central and eastern North Atlantic with an abundance estimate for part of this area. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 7.
Carretta, J. V., Forney, K. A., Muto, M. M., Barlow, J., Baker, J., Hanson, J. and Lowry, M. S. 2006. U.S. Pacific marine mammal stock assessments: 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC.
Carretta, J. V., Price, T., Petersen, D. and Read, R. 2005. Estimates of marine mammal, sea turtle, and seabird mortality in the California drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and thresher shark, 1996-2002. Marine Fisheries Review 66(2): 21-30.
Crespo, E. A., Alonso, M. K., Dans, S. L., Garcia, N. A., Pedraza, S. N., Coscarella, M. and Gonzalez, R. 2000. Incidental catches of dolphins in mid-water trawls for Argentine anchovy (Engraulis anchoita) off the Argentine shelf. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 2(1): 11-16.
Evans, W. E. 1994. Common dolphin, white-bellied porpoise Delphinus delphis Linneaus, 1758. In: S. H. Ridgway and R. Harrison (eds), Handbook of marine mammals, Volume 5: The first book of dolphins, pp. 191-224. Academic Press.
Fiedler, P. C. and Reilly, S. B. 1994. Interannual variability of dolphin habitats in the eastern tropical Pacific. I: Research vessel surveys, 1986-1990. Fishery Bulletin 92: 434-450.
Forney, K. A. and Barlow, J. 1998. Seasonal patterns in the abundance and distribution of California cetaceans, 1991-1992. Marine Mammal Science 14(3): 460-489.
Frantzis, A. and Herzing, D. L. 2002. Mixed-species associations of striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), and Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) in the Gulf of Corinth (Greece, Mediterranean Sea). Aquatic Mammals 28(2): 188-197.
Gerrodette, T. 2002. Tuna-dolphin issue. In: W. F. Perrin, B. Wursig and J. G. M. Thewissen (eds), Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 1269-1273. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.
Gerrodette, T. and Forcada, J. 2002. Estimates of abundance of striped and common dolphins, and pilot, sperm and Bryde's whales in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Southwest Fisheries Science Center Administrative Report LJ-02-20.
Goujon, M. 1996. Captures accidentelles du filet maillant derivant et dynamique des populations de dauphins au large du Golfe de Gascogne. L'ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Rennes.
Heyning, J. E. and Perrin, W. F. 1994. Evidence for two species of common dolphins (genus Delphinus) from the eastern North Pacific. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Contributions in Science 442: 35.
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. 2006. 2004 Annual Report. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
International Council for Exploration of the Sea. 2005. Report of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME). Savolinna, Finland.
IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).
Jefferson, T. A. and Van Waerebeek, K. 2002. The taxonomic status of the nominal dolphin species Delphinus tropicalis van Bree, 1971. Marine Mammal Science 18(4): 787-818.
Julian, F. and Beeson, M. 1998. Estimates of marine mammal, turtle, and seabird mortality for two California gillnet fisheries: 1990-95. Fishery Bulletin 96: 271-284.
Krivokhizhin, S. V. and Birkun Jr., A. A. 1999. Strandings of cetaceans along the coasts of Crimean Peninsula in 1989-1996. In: P. G. H. Evans and E. C. M. Parsons (eds), European Research on Cetaceans, Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the European cetacean Society, Monaco 20-24 Jan 1998, pp. 59-62.
Natoli, A. 2004. Molecular ecology of bottlenose (Tursiops sp.) and common (Delphinus sp.) dolphins. Thesis, University of Durham.
Northridge, S. 2006. Dolphin Bycatch: Observations And Mitigation Work In The UK Bass Pair Trawl Fishery 2005-2006 Season. Occasional Report to DEFRA October 2006.
Perrin, W. F. 2002. Common dolphins Delphinus delphis, D. capensis, and D. tropicalis. In: W. F. Perrin, B. Wursig and J. G. M. Thewissen (eds), Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 245-248. Academic Press.
Reilly, S. B. 1990. Seasonal changes in distribution and habitat differences among dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific. Marine Ecology Progress Series 66: 1-11.
Simmons, D. C. 1968. Purse seining off Africa's west coast. Commercial Fisheries Review 30(3): 21-22.
Tudela, S., Kai Kai, A., Maynou, F., El Andalossi, F. and Guglielmi, P. 2004. Driftnet fishing and biodiversity: the case of the large-scale Moroccan driftnet fleet operating in the Alboran Sea (SW Mediterranean). Biological Conservation 121: 65-78.
Waring, G. T., Josephson, E., Fairfield, C. P. and Maze-Foley, K. (eds). 2006. U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico marine mammal stock assessments - 2005. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE, pp. 346 pp..
|Citation:||Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K., Karczmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y., Wells, R.S. & Wilson, B. 2008. Delphinus delphis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T6336A12649851.Downloaded on 25 April 2018.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided|