As their name suggests, spinner dolphins are famous for acrobatics, performing frequent high, spinning leaps from the water. They weigh up to about 75 kilograms and reach about 2.1 metres in length. Their size, shape, and colour patterns differ according to geographical location but they are mainly slender with long and thin beaks. Their flippers are small and pointed at the tips. They are shades of gray or even white, but most usually have a creamy white patch on their belly.
They prefer tropical waters, but may be found in temperate waters. They swim in schools of up to about 1,000.
Spinners suffered enormous population losses because of the tuna fishing industry, with deaths in the hundreds of thousands. This was as a result of their habit of frequently swimming above schools of yellowfin tuna and so were often caught in purse seine nets.
There is a short-snouted spinner dolphin (Stenella clymene) that is found only in the Atlantic.