Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin

Life of Sea | Atlantic White Sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) | Atlantic white sided dolphin is a strikingly colored dolphin found in the cool to temperate waters of the North Atlantic. Atlantic white-sided dolphins are found in temperate and subarctic waters of the North Atlantic from southern Greenland to Massachusetts and to the British Isles to western Norway. Some have been spotted in the remote south of the Barents, Baltic Sea, the Azores and the Adriatic externally. Atlantic white sided dolphins inhabit open water which is typical in depth over continental shelf and is rarely seen from the side. This species is usually found in waters with low salinity and season they migrate along continental slopes. 
Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Mammalia
Subclass:     Eutheria
Order:     Cetacea
Suborder:     Odontoceti
Family:     Delphinidae
Genus:     Lagenorhynchus
Species:     L. acutus

Atlantic white sided dolphins get their name from the Greek lagenos, which means bottle, rhynchus which means snout or nose, and from the Latin acutus, meaning sharp or pointed and refers to their sharply pointed dorsal fins. The dolphin is slightly larger than most other oceanic dolphins. The main distinguishing characteristic is the white to pale yellow spot is located behind the dorsal fin of the dolphin on each side. This variation in color on the Atlantic white sided dolphin is unique among the mixtures of white, gray and blue of other pelagic cetaceans. The rest of the color of the body is well defined the chin, throat and belly are white, the flippers, dorsal fin and back are dark gray to black, with the exception of the macula, there is still a white spot below the dorsal fin, are above a light gray stripe that runs from the beak, above the eye and down to the tail stock. 
Atlantic white sided dolphin group size vary by location, with groups of about 60 in number near the coast of Newfoundland, but rather smaller east of Iceland. The analysis of stomach contents of stranded animals, fish such as herring and mackerel and squid seem to species' main diet may be. The Atlantic white sided dolphin is fairly acrobatic and keen to communicate with boats, but it is not as wildly gregarious as the White-beaked dolphin and common dolphin. Atlantic white sided dolphin feed on shrimp, smelt, hake, squid and herring. Their major predators are orcas and sharks. 
The species is endemic in the North Atlantic. In the past, Atlantic white sided dolphins were slain in drives conducted from Norway and Newfoundland. These have ceased in recent years, though they still occur to a lesser extent the Faroe Islands, where the meat and blubber are held in high esteem as food. Exact data on the population of Atlantic white sided dolphin is not available, but the species is considered abundant. Their main threats, in addition to natural predation external, are ocean pollution and entanglement in fishing nets.

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