Risso's Dolphin (species: Grampus griseus) in Lizard Island area: all known taxa (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Grampus griseus
Risso's Dolphin

©Robert Pittmann


Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea
Family Delphinidae
Genus Grampus
Species Grampus griseus
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

A large dolphin with a blunt bulbous head, no beak and a slender tail stem. The dorsal fin is tall with a wide base and slightly concave back edge, positioned about halfway along the body. Colour generally grey with many paler "scribble" marks, apparently scars. Small individuals are darker than larger ones.


  • Up to 400 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Adults

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island area: This appears to be the first record of this species from the northern Great Barrier Reef.


The single record reported here is based on about 40 individuals seen at a distance of about 1 km. The pod was swimming slowly along the tide line of a strong outgoing tide, in deep water about 1 nautical mile off the seaward side of Jewell Reef. It included individuals ranging from about 1.5 to about 4 m length. Many individuals performed head stands, poking their tails vertically out of the water, remaining in that position for several seconds.

Web resources


  • Baker, A.N. (1983). Whales and Dolphins of New Zealand and Australia: An identification guide Victoria University Press, Wellington, NZ.