Commerson's Dolphin

Small, swift and very distinctive—a Commerson’s coloration consists of mainly black on the head, fin and flipper regions and mostly white in the other areas of the body. The dorsal fin is small and rounded at the tip and the beak is small or unnoticeable. Females are typically larger than males. 

Commerson’s dolphins are one of the smallest dolphins and are found in shallow, coastal waters of the sub-Antarctic. They range from the tip of South America (Peninsula Valdes to Tierra del Fuego), through the Strait of Magellan, around the Falkland Islands and the Kerguelen Islands. They feed on krill, cuttlefish, squid, shrimp and small fishes.

Catch a glimpse of the Commerson's dolphin swimming beside you on the Dolphin Plunge®, or observe them at a more leisurely pace as you float along Loggerhead Lane.

Q: How’d they get their unusual name?
SW: The Commerson’s dolphin is named for the French botanist, naturalist and explorer Philibert Commerson, who wrote about them during his travels to South America in 1767.

Q: How does a Commerson’s dolphin compare to a killer whale?
SW: Commerson’s are diminutive dolphins that are related to killer whales, but not in size—adults may reach 5 ft. (1.5 m) while killer whales can be 3-6 times that length! 

Q: Did I just see one swimming upside down?
Yes! Sleek Commerson’s dolphins often swim and even feed upside down. Why? You’d have to ask them, but researchers think this gives a Commerson’s dolphin the advantage of seeing predators that may be lurking above or spotting prey swimming below.