Resembling fellow Cephalorhynchus species, Chilean dolphins are generally described as small and chunky with lengths of about 1.65 m for both males and females. These dolphins weigh approximately 57 kg, females may be slightly larger than males. Chilean dolphins have a stout, torpedo-like shape and can have a girth of up to two-thirds of their length. The head is conical in shape and lacks a beak and melon. The mouth line is fairly long and a groove on the sides of the face is present. The eyes are positioned just behind the mouth. The dorsal fin is low and triangular, with a long leading edge that is almost S-shaped. The flippers are rounded and medium sized. Some animals may also have serrations occurring along the edge of the flippers. Chilean dolphins are dark except for three areas of white on the throat, behind the flippers, and around the anal area. The rest of the body is a complex mix of dark tones. Areas of dark gray cover the flippers, flukes, back and dorsal fin whereas lighter gray tones cover the head and sides. The blowhole may be pale gray.
Chilean dolphins overlap in habitat with Commerson's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus commersonii). They can be distinguished by the lack of a conspicuous white area on the sides and back. Burmeister's porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis) may also be confused, but they have more slender dorsal fins that are positioned farther back and a lower profile and more pointed peak.
Range mass: 25 to 75 kg.
Average length: 1.6 m.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
- Jefferson, T., M. Webber, R. Pitman. 2007. Marine Mammals of the World: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification. New York: Academic Press.
- Macdonald, D. 1984. The Encyclopedia of mammals. New York: Oxford University Press.