This is a small dolphin that averages about 1.8 m in length
and 75 kg in weight. It can be distinguished by its moderately
short beak; triparite color pattern (white belly, light gray
sides, dark cape that dips in two points - above the eye and
below the dorsal fin); and distinctive facial markings (black
eye ring, dark lips and snout tip, and dark line on top of
snout, sometimes incorporating a "moustache" near
the apex of the melon). The cape is sometimes obscured by
blotchy patches on the sides and, occasionally, a faint spinal
blaze may be present. The dorsal fin is gray but bordered
with dark margins. Average total number of teeth is 200.
Found only in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic
Ocean. Known in Texas from four strandings, including three
recent strandings along Padre and Mustang Islands.
This dolphin was not described as a distinct species until
1981 and is rarely observed alive. Consequently, it is one
of the most poorly known dolphins of the world.
Stenella clymene has been observed at sea only in deep water.
These dolphins eat small fishes and squid and appear to feed
at night or in mid-water depths. Squid remains found in their
stomachs are of species that characteristically live at intermediate
depths and surface at night.
These dolphins may leap and spin out of water but their movements
are not so high or complex as those of the spinner dolphin,
S. longirostris. Stranding records from the Gulf of Mexico
indicate that they are probably year-round residents of this
The Clymene dolphin is not found outside of Atlantic waters,
an unusual distribution for a tropically distributed cetacean.
This dolphin may possibly have evolved in the Atlantic.