Animals no image

Published on May 23rd, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie


Heaviside’s Dolphin: South Africa’s Reticent Dolphin

Heaviside’s Dolphin Photo By Jutta Luft Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

The Heaviside’s Dolphin is a species that doesn’t like to wander too far from its home. South Africa’s hidden gem, the somewhat shy creature is one of the smallest of all the dolphin species and are sometimes mistaken for porpoises.

The Heaviside’s Dolphin is named after a Captain Haviside that was the first person to properly introduce the species of dolphin to Great Britain.

Physical Description

Heaviside’s Dolphins are a small species of dolphin. They are predominantly varying shades of black and grey with a white abdomen. Their pectoral and dorsal fins, as well as their tale fluke, is a dark black colour.

Like the Commerson’s Dolphin, the Heaviside’s Dolphin has very rounded pectoral fins that resemble paddles. Apart from the massive difference in size, a superficial glance reveals the Heaviside’s Dolphin to closely mirror its cousin, the Orca.

Diet And Behaviour

Heaviside’s Dolphins are believed to feed mainly on fish and Cephalopoda such as squid and octopuses. They have a tendency to stick to relatively shallow water usually less than 100 metres deep (300 feet) within ten kilometres of the shoreline.

Heaviside's Dolphin Size Comparison Image By Chris Huh Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Heaviside’s Dolphins are normally found in small groups of up to ten individuals. Like many dolphins they have also been seen congregating in large groups. Though it is thought that these gatherings are short-term in duration.

Highly active and agile swimmers they have been spotted acrobatically leaping fully of the water on numerous occasions. Compared to many species of dolphins Heaviside’s dolphins are quite shy around people although this doesn’t preclude them from following boats.

Conservation And Heaviside’s Dolphins

Heaviside’s Dolphins are on the list of protected species and are not commercially hunted. Two of the greatest threats to the species come from entanglement in fishing nets and overfishing diminishing the dolphin’s prey. Another threat comes in the form of pollutants.

The size of the Heaviside’s population is not known. Nonetheless, it takes half the Heaviside’s Dolphins lifespan to reach sexual maturity making them extremely sensitive to premature deaths.

Vital Statistics

  • Heaviside’s Dolphins are up to 1.8 metres (six feet) in length.
  • They can weigh as much 75 kilograms.
  • Heaviside’s Dolphins are found off the Western Coast of South Africa.
  • They can live to be up to twenty years.

Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on the Heaviside’s Dolphin.

Check out Yellow Magpie’s  Our Love Affair With Our Favourite Cetacean, Fin Whale: The Giant Speedster Of The Oceans and The Whales: Kings Of The Cetaceans for further insight into Whales and their cetacean cousins.

Among Giants: A Life With Whales is the fascinating story of underwater photographer, Charles ‘Flip’ Nicklin. Full of splendid pictures and insightful commentary about the whales this book is stunning.

You can obtain Among Giants: A Life with Whales here from Amazon.
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: Among Giants: A Life with Whales from here.
For Canada: Among Giants: A Life with Whales.
For Germany: Among Giants: A Life with Whales.
For France: Among Giants: A Life with Whales.

About the Author

2 Responses to Heaviside’s Dolphin: South Africa’s Reticent Dolphin

  1. Pingback: Chilean Dolphin: The Small Dolphin That Avoids People

  2. Pingback: Hector's Dolphin: New Zealand's Small Resident Dolphin

Back to Top ↑