Our Latest News

Easter safety is paramount for our parks and reserves

18/04/2019

The Parks and Wildlife Service encourages visitors and Tasmanians alike to get outdoors and get active - especially in our parks and reserves.More

Good news, Hartz Mountain National Park and other tracks are open!

17/04/2019

In time for Easter walking, PWS have been able to re-open a number of tracks.More

New Mt Mawson Shelter officially opened ahead of ski season

29/03/2019

The new Mt Mawson Public Shelter was today officially opened and will provide a new level of amenity for southern Tasmania's only ski field, as well as upgraded facilities for bushwalkers heading to the iconic Tarn Shelf walk in Mt Field National Park.More

Common Dolphin

Photo by Angela Anderson
The unique crisscross (hourglass) pattern of colour on the sides make these dolphins easily distinguishable from other dolphins. There are four parts to the colour pattern – a dark grey/black mantle along the back, light to medium grey on the sides, white on the abdomen and a yellowish anterior thoracic patch. Common Dolphins reach between 1-2m with males being larger than females and weigh up to 200kg. Their slender build and hourglass pattern can be easily seen when frolicking in the water which they often do. They have a much longer beak than the Bottle-nosed Dolphin and a high backward curving dorsal fin. Common Dolphins have long, thin flippers and thin tail flukes with a slight notch in the centre. When spotted in Tasmania's coastal rivers or inshore they are generally in groups averaging around 12 animals, however in the open ocean they can range in groups up to several thousand. They occur in all seasons off Tasmania.

General Information

There are three species of Delphinus in the world. The Common Dolphin which occurs around Australia appears to live in two distinct groups one in the Indian Ocean and another in the Tasman Sea. They are generally an offshore species and feed on small fish and crustaceans. Calves are born all year round and mature at about 5 years and live until their early 20s.

Stranding Information

Common Dolphin Stranding and Sightings(click to enlarge)
Common Dolphins are the most common dolphin strander in Tasmania. At least one third of strandings are mass strandings, with an average number of 12 animals at a time. This may be because they are less familiar with coastlines than Bottle-nosed Dolphins. There have been several records of them stranding in Tasmania in association with Orca sightings probably due to panic. Their small size makes them easy to manipulate back into the water at a stranding and they should be released together as a pod.