Pacific White-Sided Dolphins
Pacific White-Sided

General information
Quick Facts
Order Cetacea
Suborder Odontoceti
Family Lagenorhynchus
Species Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
Status Common
Weight Up to 300 pounds
Diet Small schooling fish and squid
Size Up to 8 feet
Home North Pacific only

The Dolphin with the Best “Paint Job” According to Captain Mike

Pacific white-sided dolphins could be considered the most beautiful of dolphins seen in Dana Point. With an almost air-brushed appearance, it is difficult to mistake them. They are black on top, white on the bottom, with whitish swirls and streaks along their flanks. They have a short black beak, a dark ring around their eyes, and a black and gray dorsal fin that is sharply curved (or falcate.) Pacific white-sided dolphins strongly resemble Dusky Dolphins which are only found in the southern hemisphere and therefore do not pose an identification problem. Near Dana Point, they are most often found in small pods of 10-50, but in other regions are found in much larger numbers.

When and Where Can I See Pacific White-sided Dolphins?

These dolphins are found off the coast of Southern California more frequently in the winter months, as there appears to be some north-south migration according to seasons. They are also more frequently found in deep waters, but may come inshore searching for food, especially where there are deep water canyons. There are several geographically distinct populations, some of which may be residents while others may be more migratory.