The pacific white sided dolphin is a small to medium sized dolphin that can be found living in the North Pacific Ocean.
This dolphin gets its name from its dark gray upper body which is flanked by its white sides and underbody.
The pacific white sided dolphin is considered closely related to the dusky dolphin and shares many of the same physical characteristics with them as well.
Just like its name suggests the pacific white sided dolphin has a white belly and sides, with a dark gray to black upper body and dorsal fin.
The dolphin also has white to light gray patterns running above its eyes, along the sides of its body and at the bottom of the dorsal fin, however the eyes have a dark gray to black patch around them.
In terms of size the pacific white sided dolphin can reach lengths in excess of 8 ft. when it is fully matured and weigh more than 400 lbs. with females typically growing to be slightly larger than their male counterparts (6-12 inches).
Smaller dolphins may grow to be around 5 ft. in length and weigh closer to 300 lbs. when fully matured.
They have stocky bodies with a short beak and black lips.
Some of the most popular fish among this species includes capelin, hake, herring and sardines.
In order to successfully hunt their food these dolphins may be seen hunting in groups using sophisticated strategies designed to herd the fish together and immobilize them for easy capture.
Like other species of dolphin the pacific white sided dolphin also has an excellent echolocation system that allows it to detect various forms of prey which makes it easier for them to hunt at night or in dark places.
The pacific white sided dolphin can be found living in a variety of locations throughout the North Pacific Ocean.
Some of the most popular locations for this species of dolphin include Alaska, Japan, the South China Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and various parts of the United States such as California, Oregon and Washington.
These amazing dolphins can be spotted in both coastal and offshore waters depending on the location they are found.
These dolphins communicate through the use of high-pitched whistles and physical contact.
Each dolphin has a unique frequency that they communicate in which allows pods to determine which dolphin is communicating with them.
While it is difficult to interpret what each series of clicks and whistles means it is assumed that these dolphins use vocalization to communicate to one another that they have found nearby food, that there may be an incoming threat, that they have a desire to mate and to locate other pod members within their group.
Physical contact may be used to communicate affection, attention, threats or aggression depending on the strength of the contact and body language of the dolphin.
The average gestation period for the pacific white sided dolphin is 11 – 12 months.
After birth the baby dolphin is nursed with milk until it is able to consume solid foods and hunt on its own.
Sexual maturity is usually reached between the ages of 6 – 10 at which point they can begin mating and bearing offspring of their own.
Healthy dolphins that aren’t sick or injured have been known to have an estimated lifespan of around 40 years or longer.