Dolphins in the Black Sea

Tourists on the Romanian coast recently witnessed a surprising sight as a wounded dolphin emerged from the sea. The injured mammal, identified as a Delphinus Delphis species, was brought to the shore in an attempt to save it. Unfortunately, the dolphin had sustained multiple wounds, possibly from fishermen’s nets.


The Black Sea is home to three species of marine mammals: the Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis ponticus), the Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus ponticus), and the Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena relicta). Each species possesses distinct morpho-anatomical characteristics and primary food sources.

The Bottlenose dolphin and Harbor porpoise primarily feed on fish and other benthic organisms, while the Common dolphin’s diet consists of fish and organisms inhabiting the water column. These dietary preferences determine their habitat choices, with the first two species mainly found in coastal areas and the Common dolphin typically encountered in offshore zones.

The Common dolphin can be identified by its bluish-gray to brown color on the dorsal side, along with a V-shaped light lateral boundary. Additionally, a pigmented band connects the lower jaw to the insertion of the pectoral fins, varying in darkness. The dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins exhibit hues ranging from black to gray-brown.

In the Black Sea, the average size of Common dolphins is around 2 meters, with males measuring approximately 177 cm and females 159 cm. These intelligent creatures are highly sensitive to chemical and acoustic pollution. They often gather in groups of 10-15 individuals, but can also be seen in pairs or alone.

Common dolphins are known for their exceptional swimming speed, reaching approximately 50 km/h. They perform short-duration dives and frequently come to the surface to breathe, typically taking intervals of around 1/3 seconds. Found at depths of up to 70 meters, they attain sexual maturity at just 2 years of age. The gestation period is 10 months, and the young are weaned at 4 months.

These dolphins exhibit highly developed maternal instincts and have an estimated lifespan of 25-30 years. Their diet primarily comprises small pelagic fish like sprat, anchovy, and gobies, as well as crustaceans. Occasionally, their stomachs may contain other species such as horse mackerel, cod, bluefish, red mullet, sea bass, shrimp, and mollusks. They consume approximately 10 kg of food daily.

It is important for us to be aware of and protect these amazing creatures in order to ensure their continued presence in the Black Sea.