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Rough-Toothed Dolphins

Personalized, unhurried excursions with knowledgeable crew, and limited passenger counts make our dolphin encounters unique. (See our Best of the West trips.)

Scientific Name: Steno bredanensis

  • We find rough-toothed dolphins to be the oddest of all the dolphins we encounter.
  • May be submerged as long as 15 minutes, that's a long time for their size. Fast swimmer- sometimes porpoising with low, arc-shaped leaps. Sometimes bow rides - especially in front of fast-moving vessels.But while we see them actually mating with about any other dolphin out there, they are not consistenlty " friendly" to the boat.
  • Read somewhere that they eviscerate (behead and gut) their prey, can anyone else confirm this?
  • May associate (you can say that again!) with Bottlenose Dolphins and pilot whales- less frequently with spinner dolphins and spotted dolphins - occasionally with shoals of yellowfish tuna. The dolphin with the humpback whale in the large picture at the top of our website is a rough-toothed dolphn, note the concave rostrum.
  • May be seen logging in pods of 10-20 - sometimes in groups of several hundred.

Rough-toothed dolphins are smaller members of the dolphin group, reaching lengths of 8.5 feet. They sometimes express interest by approaching boats, and examining hydrophones and slow moving propellers visually and with echolocation.
Rough toothed dolphins in Hawaii, note the large pec fins

Listen to a rough toothed dolphin on NOAA's website

They have a small concave head with a long beak and no crease at the melon. Their dorsal fin is relatively large and tall and is located at the mid-back and they have relatively long flippers. Big dorasl fin and the largest pec fin to body ration of all dolphins! Body color is dark with white lips and throat and a dark dorsal cape that is narrow between the blowhole and dorsal fin. The belly has irregular spots and blotches, that continue on up their sides. The scars on the dolphin to the right are from being bitten by the cookie-cutter shark.

Maturity occurs at 11 years of age and they live up tp 32 years. The Steno feed on fish and squid as well as mollusks and cephalopods.Rough-toothed dolphins usually occur in tight-knit groups of 3 to 7, though on the leeward coast of Oahu, we usually see them in large pods of 40 -100.

Pollutants have been detected in blubber analysis of Rough-toothed dolphins in Hawaii. They are harpooned for food in Japan and West Africa.

Rough-toothed Dolphin pics, images from Hawaii
rough-toothed dolphins hawaii

Rough-toothed dolphin videos on WIld Side's YouTube channel

Swimming with rough-toothed dolphins in Hawaii

Rough-toothed Dolphin and Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, swimming (and more!) together, Oahu, Hawaii

Our wildlife tours focus on education and conservation so that an interactive relationship can be maintained in the best interest of both humans and rought-toothed dolphindolphins. We strive to foster admiration and deep respect for these wonder-ful mammals.

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