Common dolphins found in New Zealand waters belong to the species now known as the short-beaked common dolphin.
Common dolphins found in New Zealand waters belong to the species now known as the short-beaked common dolphin. The colouration of this dolphin is very distinctive with a criss-cross or hour-glass type pattern centred on the flanks. Colours include purplish black, grey, white and yellowish tan. The dorsal fin is high with a concave hind edge. The head is low and smooth-sloping.
The common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is found in offshore warm-temperate waters in the Atlantic and Pacific and is the most numerous dolphin within this range. It is closely related to the long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis) which prefers shallower and warmer water.
Short-beaked common dolphins are found in waters throughout New Zealand and Australia. In New Zealand, this species tends to remain a few kilometres from the coast and is particularly common in the Hauraki Gulf and off Northland.
Source: Department of Conservation and licensed by greatbarrierisland.nz for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/