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Burrunan dolphin

Tursiops australis

(Image credit: Charlton-Robb et al/CC BY 2.5)

The Burrunan dolphin was only recently classified as a new species (in 2011). While is resembles the common bottlenose dolphin, it is smaller and is generally more ‘petite’. The Burrunan dolphin has a distinct tri-coloration pattern, being dark grey on the upper side of the body, with a paler grey midline and a cream underside. The cream underside can extend over the eye, whilst the grey midline forms a shoulder blaze (a brush-stroke pattern) below the curved (falcate) dorsal fin. They have a prominent rounded head and a short stubby nose (rostrum). These social animals are most commonly seen in pods of 2-30 animals.

Length: Up to 2.8 m


Semi-enclosed embayments and estuarine areas, and individuals have also been seen high up in freshwater rivers. It is also thought they inhabit inshore coastal waters at about 1 m depth. Their maximum depth is unknown.

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Log this species wherever it is spotted in Victorian waters

Related links/info

Species description provided by Dr Kate Charlton-Robb.

Charlton-Robb, K., Gershwin L., Thompson, R., Austin, J., Owen, K., and McKechnie, S.W. (2011) A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24047. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024047

Contact the Whale and Dolphin Emergency Hotline on 1300 136 017 if you find stranded, entangled, sick or injured whales or dolphins.

Species names on the Redmap site are based on the Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota or CAAB (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/caab/). This is updated regularly and lists the approved common name, family, species name and more.

Redmap species descriptions were based, with permission, on the following books:

Australian Marine Life: The Plants and Animals of Temperate Waters by G. J. Edgar, Revised Ed. (2008) Reed Books, Melbourne

Fishes of Australia’s Southern Coast, Edited by M. Gomon. D. Bray and R. Kuiter (2008) Reed Books, Melbourne

Find further information and images at FISHES OF AUSTRALIA http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/


Number of sightings 0

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