U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 50, No. 2 (May, 1969), pp. 262-271.


Delphinus bairdii Dall is a species of dolphin distinct from D. delphis Linnaeus, with which it has usually been synonymized. D. bairdii has a longer rostrum relative to the zygomatic width of the skull; the ratio of these measurements falls at 1.55 or above for bairdii and 1.53 and below for delphis. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, D. bairdii is found in the Gulf of California and along the west coast of Baja California, Mexico; D. delphis is presently found in the waters off California. Until approximately the beginning of the present century, bairdii occurred farther north in the eastern Pacific Ocean, at least to the Monterey Bay area of California. Restriction of bairdii to more southerly waters, probably as an indirect result of a change in water temperature, may have permitted delphis to move into inshore Californian waters. The Pacific population of D. delphis has a somewhat shorter rostrum than the Atlantic population, and is perhaps subspecifically different. A thorough analysis of the entire genus Delphinus is needed before the relationship of all the populations can be understood and names properly applied.