Galapagos Dolphin

The Galapagos Dolphin is a graceful marine mammal that lives in the tropical Galapagos Islands.


galapagos dolphin

The two species that live in the Galapagos Islands are the Bottle Nosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis).

There are three other species (Spinner, Risso's and Pantropical Spotted Dolphins) that can also be spotted in the Galapagos Islands when migrating.

Dolphins are cetaceans, thus they are considered whales just like the porpoises and the common whales.

The life span of dolphins in Galapagos is around 25 years but some bottlenose dolphins may live up to 50 years old. They usually feed on fish, squid and shrimps.

Galapagos Dolphins have a layer or a coat of fat around their bodies which allows them to remain warm in the cold waters that sometimes surround the Galapagos Islands.

Dolphin's functions and bodies have evolved for life in the water. Dolphins cannot breathe under water because they don't have gills. They have lungs just like people and must breathe air. They live in the water because otherwise they would overheat and dry out on land.

When visiting these Islands you will notice that one of the best Galapagos Attractions is to see sometimes up to 20 Galapagos dolphins swimming in front of your boat.

This is a spectacular sight during the day and better at nights when their bodies glow with the moonlight as they gracefully race through the water.

Find Cheap Air Flights to the Galapagos Islands here

Galapagos Dolphin Species

Common Dolphin

The two species of Common Dolphin that inhabit the Galapagos Islands are the "Long-Beaked Common Dolphins" (Delphinus capensis) and the "Short-Beaked Common Dolphins" (Delphinus delphis).

You can distinguish the Common Galapagos Islands dolphin from other species for the yellow spots that have on their sides and for their almost white chest and belly.

These Dolphins are usually very dynamic, always jumping and splashing and they are often seen in schools of over one hundred individuals at a time.

The Bottle Nosed Dolphin

This Galapagos dolphin can be seen plentifully in the Galapagos Islands and often spotted swimming beside or in front of visitor boats.

These dolphins are abundant in the Galapagos Islands and have adapted very well to the environment and to the cooler waters of these Islands.

The color of the Bottle nosed Dolphin fades from gray at the top of the body to very light gray and white at the bottom.

The size of these dolphins varies from 6 to 13 feet and they can weight from 20 to 600 kg. Male dolphins are bigger females.

Female bottlenose dolphins have an estimated lifespan of 40 years but male dolphins hardly live more than 30 years.

The Spinner Dolphin

You can see this small dolphin (1.50 to 2 mts in length) at Fernandina Island and Isabela Island in Galapagos. Its scientific name is Stenella longirostris and can be seen on most tropical waters around the world as well.

Risso's Dolphin

This dolphin (Grampus griseus) can be easily identified by their scarred skin. These scars are caused by their front teeth when they play or fight with each other. Risso's dolphins inhabit in all seas around the world and can also be seen in the Galapagos Islands.

Pantropical Spotted Dolphins

These dolphins (Stenella attenuata) live in all the oceans of the world and can also be spotted in Galapagos. The Pantropical dolphins in Galapagos have a long thin beak and they are bigger in size than the ones that live in warmer waters.

There's an international program that was created to protect the Galapagos dolphin from fishing fleets that use fence nets in the surrounding waters of the Islands. This program establishes very rigorous norms for the conservation of these marine mammals.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


More About Galapagos

Galapagos Marine Life

Facts About Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Iguanas

Amazing Galapagos Diving Tours

If you have questions about the Galapagos Dolphin or these Islands, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Island Tours to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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