Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins

Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin / ©: Guido J. Parra
Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin
© Guido J. Parra
The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is found in inshore tropical and subtropical waters from northern New South Wales around to Shark Bay in Western Australia. It feeds on a range of fish and some crustaceans.

 / ©: WWF-Aus / Humane Society International
Map showing critical habitat for Indo-pacific humpback dolphin.
© WWF-Aus / Humane Society International
Map showing critical habitat for Indo-pacific humpback dolphin.
Click on the map to open a larger version of it.



Populations of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin are thought to be small, numbering less than 100 individuals. In the Great Barrier Reef, the dolphins are thought to remain in or return to their place of birth.

What makes the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin unique?


Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are slightly larger than snubfins, growing to 2–3 metres in length. They are usually pale grey, have a long, slender beak and a large, distinctive triangular dorsal fin.

Among those humpback dolphins found in Australian waters, the snout, forehead and dorsal fin whiten with age, resulting in a patchy or often freckled appearance.

Indo-pacific humpback dolphin facts

  • Common name

    Indo-pacific humpback dolphin

  • Scientific name

    Sousa chinensis

  • Length

    Up to 2.6 m 2.7m

  • Skin colour

    Pale grey with the flanks shading to off-white

  • Habitat

    Tropical to warm temperate coastal waters, including open coasts and bays, coastal lagoons, rocky and/or coral reefs, mangrove swamps and estuarine areas in coastal waters of the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans, from eastern Africa through the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, southern China, Gulf of Thailand, Indonesia and northern Australia.

  • Status

    IUCN: The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is listed as 'near threatened'