Central American Spinner dolphins in Huatulco.

Spinner Dolphin

Stenella longirostris centroamericana
Distribution map of the Central American population of Spinner dolphins.

Central American spinner dolphins are usually found in large groups of several hundred to thousands off the coast of Huatulco. They are often seen on our dolphin and whale watching tours. This population is a unique subspecies of the spinner dolphin complex which includes; gray, dwarf, eastern and central American. Each subspecies has a different size, shape and body coloration.
The Central American spinner dolphin subspecies is only found along the coast from Oaxaca to southern Costa Rica. They have not been studied to any significant degree, so we have the opportunity to collect information on sightings and other data to assist in the conservation of this unique population.

Information about the Central American Spinner dolphins seen in Huatulco, Oaxaca.

Spinner Dolphins

The Central American Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris centroamericana) is the largest subspecies of Spinner dolphin. They have a very long snout and a slender body with a triangular dorsal fin. Females reach maturity around 5 years of age while males take between 6 and 10 years. They are a short-lived species, rarely living more than 25 years. They breed every 3 years, gestation lasts 10 months and babies usually measure between 70 and 80 centimeters at birth.
These dolphins can grow to over 2.1 meters in length and weigh up to 80 kilograms. They have a uniform gray coloration unlike most dolphin species which usually have counter shading with a dark dorsal region and a light ventral area. Males can be distinguished by their rearward-facing dorsal fin, large ones have a large ventral keel, and their caudal fins have a distinctive upward curve at the margins.

Spinner dolphins in Huatulco are a unique subspecies.
Conservation of spinner dolphins in Huatulco.

Spinner Dolphin Conservation

The conservation status of Central American spinner dolphins is unknown. As very little research has been done on the range of this subspecies, the health of the population cannot be determined. Eastern spinner dolphins living in the high seas have been victims of the commercial fishing industry for many years and their populations have suffered.

Oceanico’s dedicated research and conservation programme, ‘Project STENELLA’, is supported by our tours. During the tours we collect information about sightings to help the project focus on this unique subspecies of dolphin. In addition to group size, location, activity, and age range within the groups, we are also collecting information on fishing interactions and tourism activity around the groups. Our tours support the research and conservation of the Central American spinner dolphins of Huatulco.