Fraser’s Dolphins in Tenerife
Today we had our first observation of Fraser’s dolphins on our Tenerife whale watching tours. The Fraser’s dolphin is a rare visitor to the Canary Islands and has not been otherwise reported in several years. Whale Watch Tenerife created the first Cetacean Sightings Station to improve the success of whale and dolphin watching tours in Tenerife and with this observation we have extended the number of cetaceans we have seen in the first few months of our project to 8 species!
Fraser’s dolphins or Lagenodelphis hosei are also known as the Sarawak dolphin. They have a unique appearance with small dorsal fins, flippers and beaks. They are a relatively large oceanic dolphin growing up to 2.75 meters and 200 kilos. They have a cream coloured stripe along their flank and a characteristic dark stripe.
The Fraser’s dolphins are often seen in large pods of over 100 to 1,000 individuals and typically are very active, proposing when the swim. They specialise in eating pelagic species of squid, fish and shrimp which they hunt in the darkness of 200 to 500 meters deep using echolocation.
The Fraser’s dolphin is not very well known to science, as it is an open ocean species and it was only in 1971 that the first full skeleton was discovered. Since that time more sightings of the Fraser’s dolphin have been made, mostly in the Pacific. In the Atlantic they are typically found in the Gulf of Mexico and very rarely have been sighted in the Canary Islands.
Part of the mission at Whale Watch Tenerife is to learn more about the many species of resident and migratory whales and dolphins that can be found here. Relatively little is known to science, and by combining respectful eco-adventure tours with sightings and data collection, we are working towards a greater understanding of the cetacean species in Tenerife and the Canary Islands.