16 Different Types of Dolphins (With Pictures)

Different Types of Dolphins
Photo by Michelle_Maria on Pixabay

Dolphins are some of the most amazing and intelligent creatures in the ocean. And guess what?

They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, making them one of the most diverse marine mammals. 

As you follow us on our blog post, we’ll explore the different types of dolphins and discover the unique characteristics that make each species special.

Just be at rest; from the common bottlenose dolphin to the rarely-seen Amazon river dolphin, there are many fascinating species of dolphins for us to learn about!

What Are Dolphins?

Dolphins are aquatic mammals that belong to the family Delphinidae.

You can’t believe they are highly intelligent and social animals known for their playful and acrobatic behaviors. 

And the best part, with their streamlined bodies, sleek skin, and keen senses, they are perfectly adapted to their marine environment and are considered some of the most remarkable creatures on earth.

Dolphins have been the subject of human fascination and study for centuries.

Of course, their incredible abilities and diverse range of species continue to amaze researchers and animal lovers alike.

How Many Different Types of Dolphins Are There?

There are approximately 36 different species of dolphins found in every ocean.

These species can be categorized into two types: oceanic dolphins and river dolphins.

Oceanic dolphins live in the open ocean and are the most common type of dolphin.

River dolphins, on the other hand, live in freshwater rivers and estuaries and are less common.

Some of the most well-known oceanic dolphin species include bottlenose, spinner, and common dolphins.

Other species of oceanic dolphins include Risso’s dolphin, Fraser’s dolphin, and Pacific white-sided dolphin.

Different Types of Dolphins

1. Common Bottlenose Dolphin

Common Bottlenose Dolphin
by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The common bottlenose dolphin is one of the most well-known types of dolphins found in oceans worldwide.

And, of course, known for their intelligence and playful nature, these dolphins can grow up to 3.9 meters in length and weigh up to 650 kg. 

Interestingly, they have a distinct curved dorsal fin and a gray-blue coloration.

The common bottlenose dolphin is one of the most recognized, and there are actually many different types of dolphins that exist with varying characteristics and habitats.

2. Dusky Dolphin

Dusky Dolphin
by Jason Pratt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The dusky dolphin is also one of the unique, different types of dolphins that inhabit the southern hemisphere, from Peru to New Zealand.

They are known for their striking coloration, with a black back and white underbelly, as well as their acrobatic displays. 

Dusky dolphins have slender bodies and are smaller than other types of dolphins.

They are playful and can often be seen leaping and somersaulting out of the water. 

Dusky dolphins are highly social animals found in large pods of hundreds of individuals.

Their vocalizations include whistles, clicks, and burst-pulse sounds, which they use to communicate with each other and locate prey.

Overall, the dusky dolphin is one of the fascinating and unique different types of dolphins that adds to the diversity of this amazing animal family.

3. Spinner Dolphin

Spinner Dolphin
by Randy Son Of Robert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Spinner dolphins are known for their acrobatic and playful nature, making them a popular attraction for tourists in places like Hawaii and the Red Sea.

Talking of also is that they have slender bodies and long, thin snouts. 

One unique feature of the spinner dolphin is its ability to leap out of the water and spin in the air multiple times before splashing back into the water.

They are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters and often travel in large groups.

Also, can you imagine that their diet only consists of small fish and squid?

4. Hourglass Dolphin

Hourglass Dolphin
by Lomvi2 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Hourglass Dolphin, also known as the Skunk Dolphin, is a small and elusive species in the Southern Hemisphere.

They have a distinct black-and-white coloring that resembles an hourglass, hence their name. 

Their population size and behavior are not well-known due to their rare sightings, but they are believed to feed on small fish and squid.

Despite their striking appearance, they are not commonly seen in captivity, and little is known about their conservation status.

5. Peale’s Dolphin

Peale’s Dolphin
by darwin_initiative is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Peale’s Dolphin, also known as the Lagenorhynchus australis, is a small dolphin species found in the southern hemisphere, particularly in the waters of South America.

These magnificent types of dolphins have distinct coloration, with a black or dark gray dorsal side and a light gray or white underside.

Their beak is also short and rounded compared to other dolphin species. 

Despite their small size, Peale’s Dolphins are known to be active swimmers and are often observed performing acrobatic displays.

They usually travel in groups of up to 10 individuals, although larger groups have also been observed.

Peale’s Dolphins primarily feed on small fish, squid, and crustaceans and are considered a top predator in their ecosystem.

6. Commerson’s Dolphin

Commerson’s Dolphin
by Baron Reznik is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Commerson’s Dolphin, also known as the Panda Dolphin or Skunk Dolphin, is a unique dolphin species.

It can be found in the waters around the southern tip of South America and the Kerguelen Islands.

These different types of dolphins are easily recognized by their striking black-and-white coloring, with a black back and white belly. 

To be real with you, they are one of the smallest dolphin species, growing only up to four feet in length and weighing up to 90 pounds.

Despite their small size, Commerson’s Dolphins are known for their acrobatic displays and playful behavior.

7. Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
by ryan.f.mandelbaum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, also known as the pantropical spotted dolphin, is also one of the widely recognized different types of dolphins.

It is easily distinguishable from other dolphins because of its unique spotting patterns, which vary from individual to individual. 

These dolphins are also known for their playful behavior and acrobatic abilities, often jumping and spinning out of the water.

They can be found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and they are known to travel in large groups or pods.

8. Orca

by DrTH80 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Despite their common name of “killer whale,” orcas are the largest dolphin family member.

They can be found in the world’s oceans, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and have distinctive black and white markings. 

Orcas are known for their complex social structures and unique vocalizations, and they are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain.

While they are often associated with being fierce and dangerous, orcas have been known to show playful and social behaviors towards humans and other marine animals.

9. Irrawaddy Dolphin

Irrawaddy Dolphin
by Dan Koehl is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Still, on our list of different types of dolphins, The Irrawaddy dolphin is a unique type often found in rivers and estuaries rather than in the open ocean.

They have a round head with no distinct beak and a short dorsal fin. They are a dark gray color and have a friendly and playful demeanor.

While they are a lesser-known type of dolphin, their distinct features make them fascinating and important different types of dolphins to learn about.

10. Hector’s Dolphin

Hector’s Dolphin
by Gregory ‘Slobirdr’ Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hector’s Dolphin is one of the smallest and rarest different types of dolphins in the world.

They are native to the coastal waters of New Zealand, specifically around the North and South Islands. 

Can you imagine with a unique black and white coloration, these dolphins are easy to identify?

They are also known for their playful behavior and acrobatic skills, often leaping out of the water and surfing the waves.

Unfortunately, Hector’s Dolphins face threats such as fishing nets and pollution, making their conservation crucial.

11. Clymene Dolphin

The Clymene dolphin, also known as the short-snouted spinner dolphin, is a small and slender species of dolphin found in tropical and subtropical waters.

They are often seen in large groups and are known for their acrobatic abilities, frequently leaping and spinning out of the water. 

Their coloration is unique, with a dark dorsal cape, light gray sides, and a distinct dark stripe running from the eye to the flipper.

Despite their distinctive features, the Clymene dolphin is one of the least studied dolphins.

12. Southern Right Whale Dolphin

Southern Right Whale Dolphin
Image from @seacreature_otd

The Southern Right Whale Dolphin is a unique dolphin known for its stocky body and long beak.

They are found primarily in the southern hemisphere, in waters around Australia, South America, and Antarctica. 

They have distinctive black-and-white coloring and often swim in large groups.

Despite their name, they are not closely related to the larger, slow-moving Southern Right Whale.

Instead, they are a smaller, fast-swimming dolphin species that are a joy to watch in the wild.

13. Rough-Toothed Dolphin

Rough-Toothed Dolphin
by Chris Koerner is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The rough-toothed dolphin, also known as the Steno bredanensis, is a member of the dolphin family in tropical and warm-temperate waters worldwide.

This species is distinguished by its rough teeth, which are unique among dolphins. 

Their long, slender bodies and streamlined shape allow them to swim swiftly and gracefully through the water.

Rough-toothed dolphins are known for their intelligence, social behavior, and vocal communication.

Despite their name, they are generally gentle and curious around humans.

14. Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin

Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin
by Christ-lover is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, also known as the Chinese White Dolphin or Pink Dolphin, is a unique and highly recognizable type of dolphin due to its pink coloration.

They can be found in the waters of Southeast Asia, India, China, and Australia.

This species is typically smaller than other dolphin species and can reach a maximum length of 2.7 meters. 

And do you know they are known to be intelligent and playful creatures, often seen performing acrobatic leaps and playing with objects such as seaweed?

Unfortunately, like other types of dolphins, they are also threatened by human activities such as habitat destruction, overfishing, and pollution.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species and its habitat,

15. Long-Beaked Common Dolphin

Long-beaked Common Dolphin
by Chris G Earley is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Long Beaked Common Dolphin, also known as Delphinus capensis, is among the different types of dolphins found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

They are known for their long snouts and streamlined bodies, allowing them to swim at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. 

Let me hit you with the fact! These dolphins are social creatures, often seen traveling in groups of up to 2,000 individuals.

They are also highly vocal and use a variety of clicks, whistles, and squeaks to communicate with one another. 

Long Beaked Common Dolphins primarily feed on small fish, squid, and shrimp and can dive up to 500 feet for their prey.

They are important and fascinating dolphins to study and observe in their natural habitats.

16. Electra Dolphin

Electra Dolphin
by Cyril di Bisceglie is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Electra dolphin, or the Brazilian coast dolphin, is a relatively unknown dolphin species inhabiting Brazil’s coastal waters.

These small dolphins have a unique appearance, with a distinctive stripe along their body and a prominent hump behind their dorsal fin.

They are highly social and often seen swimming in groups of up to 30 individuals.

While they are not currently threatened, their population size is unknown, and more research is needed to understand this fascinating species better.


As we begin to wrap up, Dolphins are some of the most iconic sea creatures on the planet. I guess you are now familiar with many different types of dolphins.

Each dolphin species has unique characteristics and behaviors, from the majestic bottlenose to the rough-toothed dolphin. 

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