Mammal Species of the World
Click here for The American Society of Mammalogists species account
WhyReef - Lifestyle
Like us, spinner dolphins are mammals, which means their females give birth! They are pregnant for about 10 months, and give birth to one calf (that’s a baby dolphin) at a time. Dolphin mothers have to take care of calves, nursing them for 7 months.
Spinner dolphins can be found in tropical seas all over the world, almost always in groups called pods. It is common for pods to include around 200 dolphins, but some have had up to 1,000 dolphins! Sometimes, spinner dolphins will also group with other dolphins and even other animals in the sea, like tuna.
WhyReef - Fun Facts
Spinner dolphins are found in the tropical and subtropical waters in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. They can also be found in some warm temperate areas. Spinner dolphins often occur near islands (Klinowska 1991).
Biogeographic Regions: indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )
Stenella longirostris longirostris occurs mainly around oceanic islands in the tropical Atlantic, Indian, and western and central Pacific east to about 145°W (Rice 1998). However, the distribution in the Atlantic is not well known, especially in South American and African waters; the known range can be expected to expand considerably in those areas with increased attention to the cetacean faunas there. The southernmost record is from New Zealand, more than 2,000 km south of what is thought to be the normal range but still well north of sub-Antarctic waters (Perrin and Gilpatrick 1994).
Stenella longirostris orientalis inhabits pelagic waters of the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) east of about 145°W, from 24°N off Baja California south to 10°S off Peru, but exclusive of the range of the following subspecies (Perrin 1990).
Stenella longirostris centroamericana is found in coastal waters over the continental shelf of the ETP, from the Gulf of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico southeast to Costa Rica (Perrin 1990).
Stenella longirostris roseiventris is distributed in shallow waters of inner Southeast Asia, including the Gulf of Thailand, the Timor and Arafura Seas off northern Australia, and other similar shallow waters off Indonesia and Malaysia. It is replaced in deeper and outer waters by the larger pelagic subspecies S. l. longirostris (Perrin et al. 1999, Kahn pers. comm. to W. Perrin 2007).
The map shows where the species may occur based on oceanography. The species has not been recorded for all the states within the hypothetical range as shown on the map. States for which confirmed records of the species exist are included in the list of native range states. States within the hypothetical range but for which no confirmed records exist are included in the Presence Uncertain list.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Tropical, subtropical, and, less often, warm temperate regions of Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans (Leatherwood and Reeves 1983). Costa Rican spinner occurs primarily less than 80 km from shore along the western coast of Central America (7-18 degrees north latitude). Eastern spinner ranges from southwestern coast of Baja California south to the equator and offshore to about 145 degrees west longitude. Whitebelly spinner occupies much of the equatorial Pacific, well offshore, extending south to 20 degrees south latitude off western South America, north to 20 degrees north latitude west of Mexico, and west almost to the Hawaiian Islands. Eastern and whitebelly spinners overlap greatly in range. See Leatherwood and Reeves (1983) and IUCN (1991).
Distribution in Egypt
Red and Mediterranean Sea.
Spinner dolphins are six to seven feet long and have a three part color pattern on their bodies. The pattern consists of a dark gray back, a pearl-gray side panel, and a white belly. Males possess a postanal hump and are generally larger than the females (Norris, 1991). Spinner dolphins that live farther away from land are morphologically different from those that live close to land (Norris et al, 1994).
Range mass: 55 to 75 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Length: 220 cm
Weight: 78000 grams
Size in North America
Range: "1.3-2.4 m "
Range: 22-75 kg
Stenella longirostris is mostly pelagic. It does spend time in both shallow waters and deeper water farther from land.
Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; coastal
Habitat and Ecology
Most Spinner Dolphins feed predominantly at night, on small (<20 cm) midwater fish of many different families (including myctophids), squids, and sergestid shrimps (Perrin et al. 1973; Dolar et al. 2003). Dwarf Spinner Dolphins are exceptional, however; they feed (presumably during daylight hours) on small, reef-associated organisms (benthic reef fishes and invertebrates) (Perrin et al. 1999).
Habitat Type: Marine
Comments: Primarily inhabiting pelagic inshore waters or banks, but may occur hundreds of kilometers from land in waters with specific characteristics of shallow mixed layer, shoal and sharp thermocline, and low annual variation in temperature (Perrin 1998). During daily rest period in Hawaii, occupies atoll lagoons or certain coves, or swims over shallow sandy areas (usually <50 m deep) (Norris and Dohl 1980).
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1065 samples.
Depth range (m): 0 - 0
Temperature range (°C): 9.374 - 29.364
Nitrate (umol/L): 0.035 - 11.982
Salinity (PPS): 32.337 - 39.872
Oxygen (ml/l): 4.235 - 6.648
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.097 - 0.932
Silicate (umol/l): 0.777 - 7.399
Temperature range (°C): 9.374 - 29.364
Nitrate (umol/L): 0.035 - 11.982
Salinity (PPS): 32.337 - 39.872
Oxygen (ml/l): 4.235 - 6.648
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.097 - 0.932
Silicate (umol/l): 0.777 - 7.399
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Spinner dolphins are carnivorous. They eat mesopelagic fish and epipelagic and mesopelagic squid and shrimp (Klinowska, 1991). Most of the prey they eat are vertically migrating species (Norris et al., 1994).
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore )
Comments: Diet in eastern tropical Pacific: small (<20 cm), mainly mesopelagic fishes, epipelagic and mesopelagic squid, and sergestid shrimps (Perrin 1998; Leatherwood and Reeves 1983). In Hawaii, feeds on scattering layer fishes, squid, shrimp (Norris and Dohl 1980).
WhyReef - Menu
10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Comments: See TRENDCOM.
Commonly in herds of up to 200, sometimes up to 1000+ (Leatherwood and Reeves 1983). Frequently associates with spotted dolphin in eastern Pacific and with other oceanic dolphin and small-medium whales elsewhere. In Hawaii, herds are fluid in size and composition.
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Comments: Daily cycle in Hawaii: nighttime feeding, morning approach to shore, morning-midday rest, travel to feeding areas at dusk (Norris and Dohl 1980).
Spinner dolphins are polygynandrous. The male senses when the female is ready to mate and pursues her. Mating happens within the school with no real mate selection.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Spinner dolphins mate when their hormone levels are high, which is one or two times a year. The male swims upside down underneath the female and inserts his penis into the female's reproductive tract (Norris, 1991). Males reach sexual maturity at about 10-12 years old, while the females' age at sexual maturity ranges from 5.5-10 years old. Adult females give live birth to one calf every 2 or 3 years. Gestation period averages 10.6 months (Klinowska, 1991).
Breeding interval: Adult females give birth to one calf every 2 or 3 years
Breeding season: Spinner dolphins mate when their hormone levels are high, which is one or two times a year
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 10.6 months.
Range weaning age: 7 (low) months.
Average weaning age: 7 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 5.5 to 10 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 10 to 12 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Females nurse their calves for at least seven months.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)
Gestation averages 10.6 months in Gulf of Mexico. Produces one young every 2-3 years (although pregnancy rate has declined in exploited populations (Chivers and DeMaster 1994, cited in Perrin 1998). Young are weaned at age >7 months, usually 1-2 years (Perrin 1998). Males are sexually mature at 10-12 years, females at 5.5 years (eastern Pacific) or 7-10 years (Gulf of Mexico).
Evolution and Systematics
The members of spinner dolphin pods stun and capture fish by emitting ultrasonic beams.
"Whales may use ultrasonic noise like a stun gun against fish…Working with captive Hawaiian spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris), California University cetologist Prof. Ken Norris found that when they direct ultrasonic beams at a shoal of fish, they can stun or even kill some of them. The beams may cause the fishes' air-filled swimbladders to resonate so intensely that their body tissues also vibrate, disorienting them." (Shuker 2001:23)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
The major threat to spinner dolphins is getting caught in tuna nets. There is also habitat destruction in some areas due to tourism. Spinner dolphins are protected in some countries. In the United States, special efforts have been made to monitor and reduce deaths due the tuna industry (Klinowska, 1991).
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NU - Unrankable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread and abundant. Populations in eastern Pacific have declined significantly in past 40 years, but decline may have stabilized recently; threatened by continuing mortality associated with commercial fishing, most notably tuna purse seines.
Status in Egypt
Occur frequently in the Red Sea near Marsa Alam, but not clear whether they breed.
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Significant declines in eastern Pacific populations occurred in the 1960s through the 1980s; trends uncertain since then (Perrin 1998). These declines the result of mortality associated with purse-seine tuna fishery; estimated kill in 1986 was 31,000 (IUCN 1991). These populations, which originally numbered in the millions, have been reduced to hundreds of thousands (e.g., declined from 1,000,000 in 1975 to around 300,000 in the early 1980s); despite some evidence of the beginning of a trend towards recovery in recent years (600,000 in mid-1980s), kill rates are high and efforts to reduce them have been less successful than previously thought (IUCN 1991). The northern whitebelly spinner stock (north of 1 degree south latitude) declined from about 1.25 million in 1976 to around 500,000 in the early 1980s, with possibly some increase since; southern whitebelly spinner stock (south of 1 degree south latutude) declined from perhaps 500,000 in the late 1970s to about 100,000 in the early 1980s and possibly may have recovered to around 250,000 by the mid-1980s (IUCN 1991). Elsewhere in the range, generally regarded as common, though information is needed regarding the status of a recently described form in the Gulf of Thailand.
Throughout their range, Spinner Dolphins are taken as bycatch in purse-seine, gillnet, and trawl fisheries (Perrin et al. 1994, Donahue and Edwards 1996), often in high numbers. Spinner Dolphins are the most abundant dolphin in the Indian Ocean (Balance and Pitman 1998) and are taken throughout the region. In the Indian Ocean, annual takes of hundreds of Spinner Dolphins have been reported bycaught in the few fisheries that have been examined in India (Lal Mohan 1994), and annual takes in the thousands have been reported in Sri Lanka (Leatherwood and Reeves 1991, Lal Mohan 1994). Takes in other areas are unknown, but may be substantial. Unknown numbers have been taken in the tuna purse-seine fishery in the eastern Atlantic (Donahue and Edwards 1996) and in small-scale gillnet fisheries in the western Atlantic (Siciliano 1994). Dolphins taken incidentally in the Philippines and Venezuela are utilized for shark bait and human consumption (Dolar et al. 1994, Perrin and Gilpatrick 1994). Dwarf Spinners are caught incidentally in shrimp trawls in the Gulf of Thailand (Perrin et al. 1999). There are likely to be undocumented fisheries interactions off West Africa (Jefferson et al. 1993; Perrin and Gilpatrick 1994). Zerbini and Kotas (1998) report on by-catches in Brazilian drift-net fisheries and Cockcroft (1990) on animals entangled in shark nets off KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
In some cases, human use of by-caught Spinner Dolphins has led to direct fisheries. Direct kills occur in several areas, including the Caribbean, Sri Lanka, the Philippines (Dolar 1994), Taiwan, and Indonesia (Perrin and Gilpatrick 1994; J. Wang pers. comm., Kahn 2004). Spinners may also be so taken in West Africa (Van Waerebeek et al. 1999).
Tourist development may affect the habitat and viability of spinner dolphins in some regions, for example at Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil (Reyes 1991), in Hawaii (Lammers 2004) and in Bali, Indonesia (T. Jefferson pers. comm.). The habit of resting in shallow coastal waters during the day leads to problems of harassment by dolphin-watching boats.
Degree of Threat: C : Not very threatened throughout its range, communities often provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure over the short-term, or communities are self-protecting because they are unsuitable for other uses
Comments: See Trend.
WhyReef - Threats
Since spinner dolphins swim with tuna, they sometimes get caught and die in tuna fishing nets. But many humans have changed the way they fish, and use dolphin safe tuna nets.
Some people catch them to eat or to use as bait, but they are more valuable to people alive. Many people like to watch them swim and jump, especially tourists. Tourists pay to watch them swim, and local people can use the money to keep their home and dolphins safe. This is called Ecotourism.
Spinner Dolphins, as with other species impacted by the ETP tuna purse-seine fishery are managed both nationally by the coastal countries and internationally by the IATTC. The IATTC has imposed annual stock mortality limits on each purse seine and promulgated regulations regarding the safe release of dolphins (Bayliff 2001).
The species is composed of several subspecies and regional populations. The conservation status of each of these should be assessed. The available estimates of abundance and removals suggest that some of them may fall into a Threatened category.
Needs: Further action to reduce kills associated with purse-seine tuna fishery is urgently needed (IUCN 1991).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Spinner dolphins attract tourists for dolphin watching. They are also subject to scientific investigation because of their remarkable capacity to learn.
Comments: Relatively small numbers are taken in small cetacean fisheries in some parts of the range; uses include consumption by humans (IUCN 1991).
IUCN Red List Category
The spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air. It is a member of the family Delphinidae of toothed whales.
The spinner dolphin is sometimes referred to as the long-snouted dolphin, particularly in older texts, to distinguish it from the similar Clymene dolphin, which is often called the short-snouted spinner dolphin. The species was described by John Edward Gray|John Gray in 1828. The four named subspecies are:
- Eastern spinner dolphin (S. l. orientalis), from the tropical eastern Pacific.
- Central American or Costa Rican spinner dolphin (S. l. centroamericana), also found in the tropical eastern Pacific.
- Gray's or Hawaiian spinner dolphin (S. l. longirostris), from the central Pacific Ocean around Hawaii but represents a mixture of broadly similar subtypes found worldwide.
- Dwarf spinner dolphin (S. l. roseiventris), first found in the Gulf of Thailand.
The species, though, displays greater variety than these subspecies might indicate. A hybrid form characterized by its white belly inhabits the eastern Pacific. Other less distinct groupings inhabit other oceans.
The zoology comes from the Latin term for long-beaked.
The spinner dolphin is a small cetacean with a slim build. Adults are typically 129–235 cm long and reach a body mass of 23–79 kg. This species has an elongated rostrum and a triangular or subtriangular dorsal fin. Spinner dolphins generally have tripartite color patterns. The dorsal area is dark gray, the sides light gray, and the underside pale gray or white. Also, a dark band runs from the eye to the flipper, bordered above by a thin, light line. However, the spinner dolphin has more geographic variation in form and coloration than other cetaceans. In the open waters of eastern Pacific, dolphins have relatively small skulls with short rostra. A dwarf form of spinner dolphin occurs around southeast Asia. In these same subspecies, a dark dorsal cape dims their tripartite color patterns. Further offshore, subspecies tend to have a paler and less far-reaching cape. In certain subspecies, some males may have upright fins that slant forward. Some populations of spinner dolphin found in the eastern Pacific have bizarre backwards-facing dorsal fins, and males can have strange humps and upturned caudal flukes.
The spinner dolphin lives in nearly all tropical and subtropical waters between 40°N and 40°S. The species primarily inhabits coastal waters, islands, or banks. However, in the eastern tropical Pacific, dolphins live far from shore. Spinner dolphins may use different habitats depending on the season.
The spinner dolphin feeds mainly on small mesopelagic fish, squids, and sergestid shrimps, and will dive 200–300 m to feed on them. Spinner dolphins of Hawaii are nocturnal feeders and forage in deep scattering layers, which contain many species. The dwarf spinner dolphin may feed mostly on benthic fish in reefs and shallow water. Off Oahu, Hawaii, spinner dolphins forage at night and cooperatively herd their prey into highly dense patches. They swim around the prey in a circle and a pair may swim through the circle to make a catch. Spinner dolphins are in turn preyed on by sharks. Other possible predators include the killer whale, the false killer whale, the pygmy killer whale and the short-finned pilot whale. They are susceptible to parasites, both external ones like barnacles and remoras, and internal ones, like nematodes, trematodes, cestodes and acanthocephalans.
Behavior and life history
In certain regions, such as Hawaii and northern Brazil, dolphins spend the daytime resting in shallow bays near deep water. At dusk, they travel offshore to feed. They travel along the shore during foraging trips, and the individuals that occupy the same bay may change daily. Some individual dolphins do not always go to a bay to rest; however, in Hawaii, dolphins do seem to return to the same site each trip. Spinner dolphins live in an open and loose social organization. The spinner dolphins of Hawaii live in family groups, but also have associations with others beyond their groups. Mothers and calves form strong social bonds. Spinner dolphins seem to have a promiscuous mating system, with individuals changing partners for up to some weeks. A dozen adult males may gather into coalitions[disambiguation needed]. Vocalizations of spinner dolphins include whistles, which may be used to organize the school, burst-pulse signals, and echolocation clicks. The spinner dolphin has a 10-month gestation period, and mothers nurse their young for one to two years. Females are sexually mature at four to seven years, with three-year calving intervals, while males are sexually mature at seven to 10 years. Breeding is seasonal, more so in certain regions than others.
Spinner dolphins are known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. A spinner dolphin comes out of the water front first and twists its body as it rises into the air. When it reaches its maximum height, the dolphin descends back into the water, landing on its side. A dolphin can make two to 5.5 spins in one leap; the swimming and rotational speed of the dolphin as it spins underwater affects the number of spins it can do while airborne. These spins may serve several functions. Dolphins may also make nose-outs, tail slaps, flips, head slaps, "salmon leaps", and side and back slaps.
Tens of thousands of spinner dolphins, mostly eastern and white-bellied varieties, were killed in the 30 years after purse seine fishing for tuna began in the 1950s. The process killed probably half of all eastern spinner dolphins. They have also been contaminated by pollutants such as DDT and PCBs. Spinner dolphins, as with other species affected by ETP tuna purse-seine fishing, are managed nationally by the coastal countries and internationally by the IATTC. The IATTC has imposed annual stock mortality limits on each purse seine and promulgated regulations regarding the safe release of dolphins.
The eastern tropical Pacific and Southeast Asian populations of the spinner dolphin are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), since they have an unfavourable conservation status or would benefit significantly from international co-operation organized by tailored agreements.
In addition, the spinner dolphin is covered by Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region (Pacific Cetaceans MoU) and the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Conservation of the Manatee and Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia (Western African Aquatic Mammals MoU).
Spinner dolphins in Hawaii receive multiple daily visits to their near-shore resting grounds, with boats taking people out daily to snorkel and interact with the local dolphin population. Such activities are increasingly coming under criticism on the grounds of possible harm to the dolphins, and efforts are being made both to educate the public in order to minimise human impact on the dolphins, and to bring in regulations to govern these activities.
Spinner dolphin at Midway Atoll
- Mead, J. G.; Brownell, R. L., Jr. (2005). "Order Cetacea". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 723–743. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K., Karczmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y., Wells, R.S. & Wilson, B. (2008). Stenella longirostris. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
- Perrin, W. F, Dolar, MLL, Chan, CM, and Chivers, SJ (2005). Length-weight relationships in the spinner dolphin, Marine Mammal Science 21:765-778.
- Perrin WF (1998) "Stenella longirostris". Mamm Spec 599: 1-7.
- WF Perrin, (1972) "Color patterns of spinner porpoises (Stenella cf. S. longirostris) of the eastern Pacific and Hawaii, with comments on delphinid pigmentation". Fish. Bull. (US) 70: 983-1003.
- William F Perrin, Nobuyuki Miyazaki, Toshio Kasuya (1989) "A dwarf form of the spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) from Thailand". Marine Mammal Science 5(3): 213-227.
- Perrin WF (1990) "Subspecies of Stenella longirostris (Mammalia: Cetacea: Delphinidae)". Proc Biol Soc Washington 103 (2): 453- 463.
- WF Perrin, PA Akin, (1991) "Geographic variation in external morphology of the spinner dolphin Stenella longirostris in the eastern Pacific and implications for conservation". Fishery Bulletin 89:411-428.
- Nelson, Bryan (November 2011). "Why does this dolphin have its fin on backwards?". Retrieved January 2013.
- Jefferson TA, Leatherwood S, Webber MA (1993) FAO Species identification guide. Marine mammals of the world. UNEP/FAO, Rome, 320 pp.
- David WK Au and Wayne L. Perryman (1985) Dolphin habitats in the eastern tropical Pacific. Fishery Bulletin 83:623-643.
- Fiedler, P. C., and S. B. Reilly. (1994) "Interannual variability of dolphin habitats in the eastern tropical Pacific. II: effects on abundances estimated from tuna vessel sightings, 1975 - 1990". Fishery Bulletin 92:451-463.
- Dolar MLL, Walker WA, Kooyman GL, Perrin WF (2003) "Comparative feeding ecology of spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) and Fraser's dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei) in the Sulu Sea". Mar Mamm Sci 19: 1-19.
- Benoit-Bird K, Au W (2003) "Hawaiian spinner dolphins aggregate midwater food resources through cooperative foraging". Acoust Soc Am 114: 2300.
- Norris KS, Würsig B, Wells RS, Würsig M (1994) The Hawaiian spinner dolphin. U Cal Press, Berkeley, Cal., USA.
- Wursig B, Wells RS, Norris KS Würsig M, "A spinner dolphins day" pp. 65-102. in: Norris KS, Würsig B, Wells RS, Würsig M (1994) The Hawaiian spinner dolphin. U Cal Press, Berkeley, Cal., USA.
- Marten K, Psarakos S (1999) "Long-term site fidelity and possible long-term associations of wild spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) seen off Oahu, Hawaii". Mar Mamm Sci 15: 1329-1336.
- Norris KS, Johnson CM, Schools and schooling, pp 234-242 in Norris KS, Würsig B, Wells RS, Würsig M (1994) The Hawaiian spinner dolphin. U Cal Press, Berkeley, Cal., USA.
- Brownlee SM, Norris KS. "The acoustic domain" in Norris KS, Würsig B, Wells RS, Würsig M (1994) The Hawaiian spinner dolphin. U Cal Press, Berkeley, Cal., USA.
- Frank E Fish, Anthony J Nicastro, Daniel Weihs (2006) "Dynamics of the aerial maneuvers of spinner dolphins", Journal of Experimental Biology 209(4):590-598.
- "Appendix II" of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). As amended by the Conference of the Parties in 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008. Effective: 5 March 2009.
- Convention on Migratory Species page on the Spinner dolphin, Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Conservation of the Manatee and Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia
- Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Three subspecies are recognized in Perrin (1998): the nominate S. l. longirostris in the tropical Atlantic, Indian and western, southern and central Pacific Ocean; and two in the eastern tropical Pacific: Central American spinner dolphin (S. l. centroamericana) and eastern spinner dolphin (S. l. orientalis).
A recently described dwarf form (S. l. roseiventris) of this species occurs in shallow waters of inner Southeast Asia, including the Gulf of Thailand, Timor Sea, and Arafura Sea, and possibly also the Java Sea and other shallow waters throughout inner Indonesia and Malaysia (Perrin et al. 1999). Mead and Brownell (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) did not recognize this as a valid subspecies.
Another form (the "Whitebelly Spinner") is thought to be the result of intergradation between the two eastern Pacific forms and the pantropical S. l. longirostris. Perryman and Westlake (1998) identified another form ("Tres Marias spinner dolphin") along the edge of the continental shelf north of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico.