Atlantic White-sided Dolphin

Atlantic White Sided Dolphin

  • Scientific name: Lagenorhynchus acutus
  • Size: Up to 10ft in length and 600lbs in weight
  • IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
  • Distribution: Found in temperate waters on the North American coast and across to cooler European waters.
  • Feeds on: Fish and squid.
  • Description: Stout but streamlined body with swept-back dorsal and pectoral fins. Colour is dark grey on the black and upper flanks with dark and light grey stripes along the lower flanks and yellowish stripe running along the mid-section of the body to the tail.

The Atlantic white-sided dolphin is a species of dolphin which is relatively common off the coast of North America and throughout European waters. This species can be identified by the pale yellow stripe on its flanks.


Worldwide distribution of the Atlantic white-sided dolphin
Worldwide distribution of the Atlantic white-sided dolphin

As the name suggests the Atlantic white-sided dolphin is found throughout the cooler waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is found all along the northern coasts of Canada and the United States, while in Europe it is found across the waters of Iceland, Greenland and Scandinavia, as well as in the North Sea. Being a species which prefers cooler, temperate waters the Atlantic white-sided dolphin is not found any further south than the English Channel and is absent from the Mediterranean Sea and the waters around the equator.

Life Cycle

While Atlantic white-sided dolphins can occasionally be found close to land, but are generally found in deeper waters out to sea. They group with other white-sided dolphins in large numbers, but will also break away into smaller groups to hunt for food. Atlantic white-sided dolphins are predators which feed on fish and squid.

Hunting, Conservation Efforts and IUCN Status

Commercially caught Atlantic white-sided dolphins
Commercially caught white-sided dolphins being processed in the port of Hvalba, Faroe Islands. These pictures were taken in August 2006.

This species is still hunted by nations such as the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The numbers taken each year are thought to be in the low hundreds and are not thought to have a significant impact on the long-term sustainability of this species. Overall the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) classes the Atlantic white-sided dolphin as a species of Least Concern on a global basis.