Marine Mammals


Short-beaked common dolphin
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The common short-beaked dolphin (scient. Delphinus delphis) was once the most common dolphin species in Greece, but unfortunately it is nowadays threatened with extinction. Indeed, the name “common” was firstly given by Aristotle in ancient times, due to its abundance in Greek Seas. Today it lives mainly in the Ionian Sea and is rarely found in Crete.

This rare animal is one of the most beautiful creatures that lives in Greek seas. It is very fast, reaching speeds of 50km/h, and can dive for 2-5 minutes at depths of 300m. The length of its tight body reaches 1.5-2m and weighs 75-90kg. Its back is dark-black or blue-gray, its belly is white-yellow and its tail is pale gray.

It lives in shallow coastal waters and deep waters off the coast. It can live up to 20 years and feeds on small fish, such as sardines, and cephalopods.The common dolphin lives in herds of 10-15 individuals, often grouped into larger herds, and is usually found near striped dolphins. Moreover, if a dolphin gets injured, the others support it by keeping that on the surface, so to breathe.

As already mentioned, the species is currently threatened with extinction. The greatest damage has been caused by overfishing of the fish that it feeds on. So, even though groups of dolphins used to coordinate for locating food in the past, today we meet groups of only 2-3 dolphins hunting together.

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