Global distribution of Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus: a review and critical evaluation

Jefferson, TA, Weir CR, Anderson RC, Ballance LT, Kenney RD, Kiszka JJ.  2014.  Global distribution of Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus: a review and critical evaluation. Mammal Review. 44:56-68.

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abundance, biogeography, california, CETACEANS, community, delphinidae, eastern north pacific, ecology, gulf-of-mexico, habitat preference, movements, mozambique channel, ocean, records, waters


The global range of Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus is not well known, and there has been confusion in the literature as to whether the species has a broad, circumglobal range or only occurs along continental margins. To clarify the species' distribution and habitat preferences, we compiled and reviewed all available (published and unpublished) records of sightings and captures of this species for the past 62 years (1950-2012, n=8068 records). Stranding records were not included. The results showed that the species has a range that extends across ocean basins and spans between at least 64 degrees N and 46 degrees S, and is apparently absent from high-latitude polar waters. Although Risso's dolphins occur in all habitats from coastal to oceanic, they show a strong range-wide preference for mid-temperate waters of the continental shelf and slope between 30 degrees and 45 degrees latitude. Although a number of misconceptions about the distributional ecology of Risso's dolphin have existed, this analysis showed that it is a widespread species. It strongly favours temperate waters and prefers continental shelf and slope waters to oceanic depths. These habitat preferences appear to hold throughout much or all of the species' range.