The Mediterranean common dolphin
Short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis photographed in Kalamos, western Greece, where they were plentiful as recently as the mid 1990s but are now rarely seen. Photos © Tethys Research Institute.
One of the most beautiful cetaceans living in the region, and yet one of the most heavily impacted by human activities.
Although common dolphins were considered relatively abundant in much of the Mediterranean until a few decades ago, large-scale population decline has occurred, and today they survive only in small portions of their former Mediterranean range.
In some areas these dolphins have become rare or are completely absent.
Recent studies suggest that common dolphins have declined largely as a result of human impact. The main threats include reduced availability of prey caused by overfishing, and habitat degradation.
Other factors that may have contributed to the species’ decline in the region include contamination by man-made chemicals, potentially resulting in immunosuppression and/or reproductive impairment, and incidental mortality in fishing gear.
In 2003 Mediterranean common dolphins have been listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.
For more information on Mediterranean common dolphins see:
Bearzi G., Reeves R.R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E., Canadas A., Frantzis A., Mussi B. 2003. Ecology, status and conservation of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the Mediterranean Sea. Mammal Review 33(3):224-252. (345 K)