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This document is the first and only publicly available identification catalogue for common dolphins in the waters adjacent to Phillip Island. The catalogue fills an important gap in the understanding of this unique community of dolphins, adding value in understanding life histories, social bonds between animals and habitat use. We consider the catalogue to be a living document that will be regularly updated as new animals are identified and/or new features appear on existing catalogued animals.

Catalogue updated May 2024.

The waters of the Western Port region has a remarkable community of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis).

Through our research, we have even been able to identify that some individuals travel between the waters near Phillip Island and the enclosed Port Phillip Bay. To the best of our knowledge, everywhere else in the world this species lives in the open ocean, sometimes in super pods of many thousands. This discovery adds crucial understanding that will support the protection of our region’s incredible common dolphins.

Since 2011, DRI has been completing water-based surveys of the Western Port region around and off Phillip Island and has been able to identify two key dolphin species inhabiting the area. These species include the common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) as well as the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

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