Sunday 19 May
Fraser’s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Fraser’s dolphin fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Fraser’s dolphin description
This tropical dolphin was scientifically described in 1956 from an individual washed up on a beach in Borneo (2), but was not actually recorded alive until the 1970s (5). Fraser’s dolphin can be identified by its stocky body and short beak, and by its small flippers, tail fin and triangular or slightly curved dorsal fin. The body bears a striking colour pattern, but one that varies with both age and sex. The back is brownish-grey, the lower sides of the body cream-coloured, and the belly is white or pink. A prominent black stripe runs along the side of the body from the eye to the anus; in adult males this is thick, while in adult females it is variable and in young dolphins the stripe is faint or completely absent. The same pattern occurs with a black stripe on the face; this is absent in calves and variable in females, while on adult males it is extensive and merges with the body stripe to form a ‘bandit mask’ (2).
- Also known as
- Sarawak dolphin.
- Dauphin De Fraser.
- Delfín De Borneo. Top
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society:
- In the fishing industry, the part of the catch made up of non-target species.
- Belonging to a diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
- Dorsal fin
- The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans.
- The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
- Mating with more than one individual without forming any permanent bonds.
IUCN Red List (November, 2008)
- Dolar, M.L.L. (2002) Fraser’s dolphin. In: Perrin, W.F., Würsig, B. and Thewissen, J.G.M. (Eds) Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Academic Press, London.
- Jefferson, T.A. and Leatherwood, S. (1994) Lagenodelphis hosei. Mammalian Species, 470: 1 - 5.
CITES (December, 2007)
- Perrin, W.F., Best, P.B., Dawbin, W.H., Balcomb, K.C., Gambell, R. and Ross, G.J.B. (1973) Rediscovery of Fraser's Dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei. Nature, 241: 345 - 350.
- Ross, G.J.B. (2006) Review of the Conservation Status of Australia’s Smaller Whales and Dolphins. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra, Australia.
- Dolar, L. (2008) Pers. comm.
CMS Species Factsheet (January, 2008)
CMS (January, 2008)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Fraser’s dolphin biology
The preference of Fraser’s dolphin for deep waters is due to the prey on which it feeds; fish, squid and crustacean species that inhabit the deeper waters of the oceans. Feeding on such food requires Fraser’s dolphin to dive down to depths of at least 250 to 500 metres to hunt. It is thought that Fraser’s dolphin itself may be occasional prey for killer whales, false killer whales and large sharks, and circular wounds caused by the peculiar cookie-cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) have been found on this species (2) (3).
Fraser’s dolphins are highly sociable mammals that swim around in tightly-bonded schools of 100 to 1,000 individuals (2) (6), often together with schools of melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra), other dolphin species (2) (3), or in some areas, such as the Sulu Sea, with short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) (7). A school of Fraser’s dolphins moves quickly, on very rare occasions riding the bow waves of boats, and with members of the school frequently porpoising; the term used to describe a dolphin leaping clear of the water when surfacing to breathe (2) (3).
Mating in Fraser’s dolphin is believed to be promiscuous, and mature females give birth approximately every two years to a metre-long calf, after a gestation period of 12.5 months. Males reach sexual maturity at an age of seven to ten years, while females are able to reproduce at five to eight years of age (2).Top
Fraser’s dolphin range
Fraser’s dolphin is a tropical species distributed in oceans between latitudes of 30°N and 30°S (2).Top
Fraser’s dolphin habitat
Inhabits deep, oceanic waters except in places where deep water approaches the coast, such as in the Philippines and Indonesia (2).Top
Fraser’s dolphin statusTop
Fraser’s dolphin threats
While poorly-known, Fraser’s dolphin is believed to be reasonably abundant due to the incredibly large schools that have been observed (1). In certain areas, however, it remains vulnerable to the threat of hunting and by-catch. In the lower Antilles, Indonesia and (before its protection) the Philippines, this species has been killed by harpoon and its meat consumed or sold in local markets. Some are also taken in fisheries in Taiwan and Japan, and in many areas Fraser’s dolphin is caught unintentionally in fishing gear (2) (8).Top
Fraser’s dolphin conservation
The south-east Asian populations of Fraser’s dolphin are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), meaning that this species would significantly benefit from international cooperation. CMS encourages the range states to develop agreements that will benefit the conservation of this species (9). In 1992, the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines banned the ‘taking or catching, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting and exporting of dolphins'. This order has not stopped dolphin hunting, but seems to have decreased the sale of dolphin meat openly in the market (8). The distribution, migratory behaviour, abundance and by-catch rates of Fraser’s dolphin are poorly known (8), and thus further research into this sociable dolphin is likely to be the first step in the development of any conservation measures.Top
Find out more
For further information on dolphins and their conservation see:
Authenticated (19/03/08) by Dr Louella Dolar, Biologist, Tropical Marine Research for Conservation (TMRC), LLC.Top
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.