Dusky Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus)
As you sail away from Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel and out into the Drake Passage, the dusky dolphin is one of the two dolphin species that you may see. These small dolphins, measuring up to 2.2 metres (seven feet), may follow the ship in pods of ten to twenty animals.
The dusky dolphin feeds on small fish, squid, and crustaceans. They are very acrobatic, porpoising with great splashes, and at times jumping clear out of the water. They also like to ride the ship’s bow wave.
The dusky dolphin has a bluish-black body covered with light grey and black streaks along the flanks and tail stalk. Its head has a band of light grey across the upper jaw. It lacks a distinct beak and has light grey flippers.
Duskies can be distinguished from the other common Beagle Channel dolphin (not shown here), the Peale’s dolphin, which has a black head and throat, a single light streak along the tail stalk, and darker flippers.