Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 10:56 UK

Pod of Risso's dolphins spotted

Risso's dolphin off Penlee Point
Risso's are not often seen at this time of year in South West waters

Risso's dolphins have been spotted off the Cornish coast, according to a marine conservation charity.

A pod of between 15 and 25 dolphins was seen on three consecutive days off Penlee Point and Mounts Bay.

The Sea Watch Foundation said Risso's were occasional visitors to South West waters, but rarely so early in the year, or in such large numbers.

Bradley Sharp from Newlyn, who reported the sightings, said the pod included at least four juveniles.

Skin scarring

"There are about six to 10 reports of Risso's in Cornwall each year and they are not as common in this area as bottlenose dolphins or short beaked common dolphins," Sea Watch sightings officer Gemma Veneruso said.

Risso's are often seen in waters off Pembrokeshire, the Isle of Man and western Scotland.

They are identified by their scarred skin, which is caused by other Risso's who use their front teeth when playing and fighting.

Sea Watch organises the National Whale and Dolphin Watch, which helps to build up a picture of the distribution of whales and dolphins off the UK.

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