Striped dolphin

(Stenella coeruleoalba)

Striped dolphins are well-proportioned, small dolphins similar in shape and size to pantropical spotted dolphins. A light grey flank divides the dark back from the white belly. Two distinctive features in the colouration are diagnostic and give this species its common name: A thin, dark stripe, with a feathery streak below it, extends from the eye back towards the underside of the tail stock and a shoulder blaze curves up from above the flipper towards the dorsal fin. There are also between one and three dark bands that run from the flipper through the eye.

Off Fujairah, in deep waters of over 800m, this species is known to form large schools of several hundreds of individuals. It is fast moving and acrobatic, leaping up to 3m into the air and capable of spins, loops and somersaults. Mostly considered very rare in the Arabian region, this species has been observeed off Fujairah on several occassions, including in mixed groups with spinner and pantropical spotted dolphins.

Striped dolphins are considered by IUCN to be least concern.