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(Delphinus delphis), a mammal of the Delphinidae family belonging to the Odontoceti suborder. Body length, up to 2.5 m. The upper part of the body and head are blackish, and the belly and sides are white (hence the name in Russian of belobochka, white-side). The dorsal and pectoral fins are sickle-shaped. The nose is narrow, long, and beak-shaped. The teeth are small and numerous (up to 240). The common dolphin is widely distributed in seas of the equatorial and temperate zones; it lives in the open sea. It feeds on anchovies, sprats, herring, capelin, and other small fish living in the upper layers of the seas. It congregates in schools which number up to several thousand individuals. In the Black Sea the common dolphin mates in July and August, and the gestation period lasts from ten to 11 months. Usually the female bears one young, whose body length is about 90 cm.
The common dolphin is a commercial fish; its fat and skin are used. The numbers of common dolphin have fallen sharply; only Turkey hunts it commercially. The USSR and Bulgaria have forbidden the commercial catching of dolphins for a ten-year period beginning in 1966.
REFERENCESKleinenberg, S. E. Mlekopitaiushchie Chernogo i Azovskogo morei. Moscow, 1956.
Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye. Vol. 9 of the series Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran. Moscow, 1957.
Tomilin, A. G. Kitoobraznye fauny morei SSSR. Moscow, 1962.