The pantropical dolphin is a small dolphin that can be found living in most of the worlds tropical climates.
They are well-known for their acrobatic behaviors and are easily identifiable due to the spots located throughout their body.
The pantropical spotted dolphin can vary greatly in terms of size and color depending on its location.
The largest dolphins can grow to lengths of up to 7 ft and weigh more than 250 pounds.
At birth these dolphins appear to be a grayish color, however as they grow into adulthood they begin to develop a combination of light and dark spots or patches from the base of their dorsal fin to the bottom of their bellies.
In some cases young pantropical spotted dolphins may even be confused with bottlenose dolphins due to their similar shape and solid coloring.
They have aerodynamically shaped bodies with a long but slim beak and a medium – long sized dorsal fin located near the middle of its back side.
Their diet can change dramatically depending on the season and the type of food supply that is available in the area.
At night they can be seen making dives of up to 700 ft when searching for prey, although typical dives are no deeper than 200 ft.
During the day they prefer to stay in shallower waters between 300 – 1000 ft deep when hunting for food and/or socializing with other dolphins.
The pantropical dolphin is a social species and enjoys performing acrobatic feats to display of fitness and to communicate with other dolphins in the group.
Pods can consist of anywhere from 2 – 100 dolphins (although larger pods may form during certain social activities) and may be segmented by age and sex.
Mothers have been known to develop close bonds with their children and in some cases have been seen caring for their young for up to 5 years, although most are able to hunt for food after 6 months – 2 years.
These dolphins communicate using a combination of clicks and whistles, which they use to inform other dolphins of food, nearby threats, a desire to mate or a number of other things.
They have also been found swimming and socializing with bottlenose dolphins.
The average gestation period (the period from conception to birth) for the pantropical dolphin is estimated to be around 11 months.
After birth the mother dolphin feeds her young a thick milk which she produces from her mammary glands.
When the baby dolphin reaches 3 – 6 months they are able to begin consuming fish and other forms of food, although in some situations the mother may continue to lactate and feed her child milk for up to 2 years.
Between the ages of 8 – 12 years most dolphins will become sexually mature and can then begin baring offspring of their own.
Female dolphins give birth to a single offspring once every 2 – 4 years on average and it is estimated that these dolphins have a lifespan of up to 45 years of age.
The pantropical dolphin can be found swimming in most warm – tropical climates such as Africa, South Brazil, The Bahamas, Hawaii and New England and are largely abundant in and around the continental shelf.
While these dolphins tend to prefer swimming in shallow waters they can be found moving into deeper waters when they begin hunting at night.
There are also a number of dolphins that live further out to sea depending on their location.
The pantropical dolphin is known to face threats from hunters looking to sell their meat, which ends up being processed and sold as tuna.
They also face threats from accidental catches in fishing nets, collisions with boats and highly populated tourist areas.
In terms of natural threats these dolphins may face occasional threats from predators such as killer whale and may become sick or ill from harmful parasites and natural diseases.