Latin name

Coryphaena hippurus

Other names

Dolphinfish, common dolphinfish, mahimahi, mahi mahi, dorado; Chinese: fei niau fu, ngau tau yue; French: coryphéne commune; Italian: lampuga; Japanese: shiira, toohyaku; Portuguese: doirado, dourado; Spanish: dorado, dorado com ún, lampuga.


The body is slender and streamlined, tapering sharply from head to tail. Large males, called bulls, have a high vertical forehead, while females have a rounded forehead. The anal fin has 25 to 31 soft rays and is long, occupying more than half the body length. The dorsal fin has 55 to 66 soft rays. The caudal fin is deeply forked. None of the fins have spines. The mouth has stripes of small teeth. The coloration is variable and cannot be accurately and simply described. Usually has a rich iridescent blue or blue-green color on the back, golden, bluish-gold or silvery-gold on the lower flanks and silvery-white or yellow on the belly. The flanks are studded with a mixture of dark and light spots, ranging from black or blue to gold. The dorsal fin is deep blue, and the anal fin is golden or silver. The other fins are typically golden yellow with blue edging. Dark vertical stripes sometimes appear when the fish attacks its prey. Describing the color of the dolphin is difficult because it is subject to sudden color changes that occur instantly, often when the fish are excited. However, when the fish is retrieved from the water, the colors fluctuate between blue, green, yellow. The bright colors that were visible when the fish was in the water quickly fade. After death, the fish usually turns uniformly yellow or silvery gray.


The species is widespread in the epipelagic of tropical and subtropical waters of all oceans. It is known from Hawaii to the Tuamotu Islands. In the eastern part of the ocean, it is found in the waters of Oregon, California, and Peru. In the Indian Ocean, occurs throughout its northern and central parts. Occurs off the coast of Australia and South Africa. In the western Atlantic Ocean, it is distributed from Nova Scotia to Brazilian waters. Numerous in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. In the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean is found from the Bay of Biscay to the mouth of the Congo River, also inhabits the Mediterranean Sea.


The common dolphin is a warm-water pelagic fish that lives in the open ocean close to the surface, also found at depth. They sometimes inhabit coastal waters, in areas near piers, in the open ocean often concentrate around watercraft. Larvae and juveniles are found in coastal and near-island areas that are in the zone of warm currents.


The average fish size ranges from 5 to 15 pounds, although it is not uncommon to catch fish as large as 50 pounds. The world record in tackle is considered an 87-pound specimen caught in Costa Rica in 1976. Dolphins grow quickly and do not live long. Few dolphins live longer than four years. Males grow larger than females and can grow to 60 pounds in as little as 2 years. They reach sexual maturity in their first year of life.

Life history and Behavior

The common dolphin is a prolific spawner, grows quickly. The spawning period starts mostly in spring or early summer and lasts several months in warmer waters. The dolphin reaches sexual maturity in the first year of life and produces large numbers of eggs. Dolphin often congregate in large numbers, sometimes by the thousands. They are almost always between the surface and 100 feet deep, and are also found on the surface or just below the surface. They are the most surface-oriented of all the big fish, feed mostly in daylight. Very popular among anglers. These fish are migratory. Dolphins in both hemispheres migrate away from the equator in the spring and summer, and toward the equator in the fall and winter.

Food and feeding habits

It is a predator with a fairly wide range of food. They swim in small flocks and shoals, intensively consuming forage fish. Flying fish and squid are the main food. The diet of small dolphins includes small fish and crustaceans that live in floating thickets. Dolphins are very aggressive and move very fast to catch food.


Reproduces year-round. It spawns in portions. A female hatches from 240,000 to 3 million eggs. The eggs are pelagic with a diameter of 1.28-1.62 mm, without excrescences; the yolk is granulated, there is a fat blob of a light yellow color. Embryonic development lasts 2-2.5 days. The length of unformed larvae after hatching is about 3.95 mm.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Carangiformes
Family Coryphaenidae
Genus Coryphaena
Species C.hippurus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 4
Maximum body weight, kg 40
Maximum length, cm 210
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating predator

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Dolphin, Common

Tags: Dolphin, Common