Although widespread, the rough-toothed dolphin is not frequently encountered, and thus few studies have been conducted on its ecology and biology (2). Like many other dolphins, it is a sociable animal, commonly moving in groups of 10 to 20 individuals, although larger groups have also been observed, such as one consisting of up to 300 dolphins in Hawaii. In these groups, the rough-toothed dolphin has been seen with other dolphin species, as well as often associating with flotsam, the rubbish and debris found floating in the ocean (2).
Often described as a sluggish or lethargic creature, the rough-toothed dolphin often swims with its chin and head above the water’s surface, skimming along with a distinctive splash (2) (4). It is not the most acrobatic of dolphins, but will occasionally leap and ride the bow waves of boats (2).
It feeds on a range of fish and cephalopods, with its robust, rough teeth suggesting that some particularly large fish may be eaten. Algae have also been found in the stomachs of rough-toothed dolphins, although this may have been eaten accidentally (2). It is known to dive to 70 metres to capture its prey and remain underwater for 15 minutes, although evidence suggests that this dolphin is actually capable of undertaking much deeper dives. With males reaching sexual maturity at 14 years, and females at 10 years, the rough-toothed dolphin is known to live for up to 32 to 36 years (2).