During our full-day search for Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic Sea, we also encountered other species of whales and dolphins. One of them is the Risso’s dolphin. We encountered a group of around 15 individuals west of Dubrovnik. They approached us curiously and allowed us to capture these fantastic photographs!

Risso’s dolphins are found worldwide in temperate and tropical regions. They also appear throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea and the southern Adriatic. They inhabit areas of continental slope where the depth rapidly increases, near underwater canyons and ridges with depths ranging from 500 to 2,500 meters. They primarily feed on squid and other cephalopods. Risso’s dolphins can grow up to 4 meters in length and weigh between 300 and 500 kilograms. When born, their young are a uniform dark grey colour, which gradually becomes darker, almost black, as they grow, and as they age, their colour lightens. Throughout their lives, Risso’s dolphins accumulate distinct scars on their skin and dorsal fins. In older individuals, it is sometimes challenging to determine whether their nearly white colour is due to age or many scars. These scars are caused by scratches from teeth during social interactions, captured prey, or parasites.

In areas where research has been conducted for an extended period, it has been determined that these animals tend to be resident. Therefore, we believe we will have the opportunity to see these Risso’s dolphins again!