The gregarious pantropical spotted dolphin forms schools that can range in size from less than one hundred to thousands of individuals (4); although it has been observed that these impressively large herds are less common in the eastern tropical Pacific than they once were, as exploitation takes its toll (4). The pantropical spotted dolphin is well known for its tendency to associate with schools of tuna in this region. While this may be due to an overlap in diet, other reasons for this association have also been suggested, such as increased protection from predators (2), as there is safety in numbers. This ocean mammal is a fast swimmer that often engages in a range of aerial acrobatics and will frequently ride the bow waves of boats, except for in tuna fishing grounds where it has learnt to avoid vessels (2) (4). Juveniles in particular are known to make astoundingly high vertical leaps out of the water (2). The pantropical spotted dolphin feeds mainly at night on small fish, squid and crustaceans that rise to near the surface at dusk, with flying fish forming a major part of the diet in some regions. In turn, this dolphin becomes prey for the killer whale (Orcinus orca) and a number of sharks (2). While the breeding system of this species is not known, it is possible that it may be promiscuous, like that of the closely related spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) (2). Every two to three years, mature female pantropical spinner dolphins give birth to a calf, after a gestation period of around 11 months (2). The calf is nursed for between one and two years. Females reach sexual maturity at 9 to 11 years, while males become sexually mature between the ages of 12 and 15 years (2).
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