Peanuts: Undersize fish (shorter than 20 inches fork length), typically found in very large numbers
Schoolies: A mix of fish just above or below the 20-inch fork length, but found in large schools
Lifters: Eight- to 15-pound fish that don't quite warrant the gaff
Gaffers: Quality fish in the 20- to 30-pound range
Slammers: Trophy fish that are generally in the 40-plus-pound range
Males, called bulls, generally grow at faster rates and eat more than females (cows) do. The largest dolphin are always bulls.
The maximum life span of the common dolphin is four years, but 98 percent will not live past two years.
To guess at the age of a fish, consider its length rather than weight. A 6-month-old dolphin could range from 19 inches to 28 inches, a one-year-old could range anywhere from 23 inches to 55 inches, and two-year-olds range from 31 to 55 inches. There's plenty of overlap when it comes to age.
A less-well-known dolphin called the pompano dolphin, Coryphaena equiselis, is distinguishable from the common dolphin by body depth: The depth of the common dolphin is less than 25 percent of its standard length, while the pompano dolphin's body depth is greater than 25 percent, according to Florida Museum of Natural History. The pompano dolphin also has a large, square tooth patch covering most of the width of the tongue.
All dolphin reach sexual maturity within a year of growth, sometimes as early as four to five months, or 8 inches in length. And they're not picky about spawning regularly, as evidenced by the presence of ripe females and larva in waters of the tropics, Florida and the southern Gulf of Mexico all year. Still other areas, such as North Carolina, see spawning fish at least certain times of the year.