Striped dolphins in Hawai‘i

Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) mother and calf high speed swimming off the island of Hawai‘i.

Striped dolphins in Hawai‘i are typically found in very deep waters (our average sighting depth is 3,400 m) far from shore (our average distance from shore is 31 km). Striped dolphins in Hawaiian waters also typically avoid boats, sometimes from distances of several hundred meters, thus they are unlikely to be seen by most boaters in Hawai‘i.

Striped dolphins off the island of Hawaii. We’ve seen striped dolphins in eight different months of the year, from April through December. Although we have no sightings from January to March, we have very little survey effort in those months in striped dolphin habitat.

Striped dolphins off the island of Hawaii. Group sizes for striped dolphins encountered in our surveys have ranged from 2 to about 110 indiividuals. Young calves ar frequently seen in the groups. Because we are not able to regularly get close to striped dolphins this is one species regularly encountered that we do not have a photo-identification catalog or any genetic samples.

Reference on striped dolphins in Hawai‘i

  • Baird, R.W., D.L. Webster, J.M. Aschettino, G.S. Schorr and D.J. McSweeney. 2013. Odontocete cetaceans around the main Hawaiian Islands: habitat use and relative abundance from small-boat sighting surveys. Aquatic Mammals 39:253-269. Download PDF copy

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Updated November 2021.

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