Striped dolphin

The striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) is a small cosmopolitan pelagic dolphin found in warm temperate and also tropical waters around the world. In fact it is the most abundant dolphin species in the Mediterranean Sea. In the Kvarneric part of the Northern Adriatic Sea the last confirmed sighting of a striped dolphin was in 1996 near the island of Krk.  

Striped dolphins congregate in dense pods. The size of pods can vary from 10-30 to several 100 individuals. Pod composition is flexible. Their maximum life span has been estimated to be between 57 and 58 years. Being an oceanic dolphin striped dolphins mainly feed on small shoaling fish and squid, with an obvious preference for squid in the Mediterranean population. In order to reach their prey they may dive 700 metres. These dolphins are very fast swimmers and in the Mediterranean are estimated to travel at an average of 15km per hour. They are highly active animals that often jump several meters high and display various other acrobatic behaviour above the surface.

Natural predators are sharks, killer whales, false killer whales, pygmy killer whales and possibly pilot whales. However their greatest threats are anthropogenic. In Japan, drive hunts have killed a great number of coastal populations. Large numbers are killed incidentally in pelagic drift net fishery for tuna and swordfish. Habitat degradation and over-fishing have caused a decline in available prey resources. Stress from food shortage and pollutants such as organo-chlorines are a principal threat and are likely to reduce their resistance of disease.