Rough-toothed Dolphin in Huatulco

Rough-toothed Dolphin

Steno bredanensis
Distribution map of the rough-toothed dolphin.

The Rough-toothed dolphin is commonly seen on our Huatulco dolphin and whale watching tours. They are found cicumtropically in tropical and temperate seas in deep oceanic waters. The rough-toothed dolphin is the fourth largest species of beaked dolphin, behind the Bottlenose, White-Beaked, and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. Throughout their range they are known for their site fidelity, so we have very good observations in Huatulco throughout the year.
Globally, Rough-toothed dolphin populations are not very well studied and locally very little is known about the population in Huatulco. So we are trying to learn more about the local population to help in their conservation.

Rough-toothed dolphins in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Rough-toothed Dolphins

Rough-toothed dolphins are a relatively large species of beaked dolphin. They can grow up to 3 meters and 190 kilograms. They are the only members of the genus steno and are therefore a unique species. They have a dark gray dorsal coat, lighter gray sides, and adults have white markings along the flanks, belly, and snout. Its snout is long, and a distinguishing feature is the lack of a large melon. Instead, they have a sloping forehead with no crease. They reach maturity at 10-14 years of age and can live for approximately 40 years. Almost nothing is known about their mating habits.
They form small pods, usually no more than 20 individuals. They are known to socialize with other dolphin species, here in Huatulco we see them mixing with Coastal Spotted, Bottlenose and Spinner dolphins.

Our tours and research projects support the conservation of Rough-toothed dolphins.
Research and conservation of Rough-toothed dolphins.

Rough-toothed Dolphin Conservation

Conservation of Rough-toothed dolphins is a major concern, especially as they appear to have small pods, slow reproductive rates, and high site fidelity. Their prey is oceanic fish and squid, which create competition with local commercial fishing operations. Research and conservation of rough-toothed dolphins. In the local population, we have documented scarring and lesions consistent with commercial fishing interactions.
Individual Rough-toothed dolphins can be identified through photo identification and we are collecting images along with pod data to determine population size, relative ages within pods, signs of interactions with fisheries, status of the body and the reaction to human activities in the ocean.