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Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphin breaching in the bow wave of a boat
Size comparison against an average human
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Tursiops
Gervais 1855
Species

See text

Bottlenose dolphin range (in blue)

Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins.[1] Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), instead of one. They inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide.

Bottlenose dolphins live in groups typically of 10-20 members, called pods, but group size varies from single individuals up to more than 1,000. Their diet consists mainly of forage fish. Dolphins often work as a team to harvest fish schools, but they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is similar to sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echo to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey. Bottlenose dolphins also use sound for communication, including squeaks and whistles emitted from the blowhole and sounds emitted through body language, such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water surface.

There have been numerous studies of their intelligence. Researchers have examined mimicry, use of artificial language, object categorization and self-recognition. Their considerable intelligence has driven interaction with humans. Bottlenose dolphins are popular from aquarium shows and television programs such as Flipper. They have also been trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect and mark enemy divers. In some areas they cooperate with local fishermen by driving fish into their nets and eating the fish that escape. Some encounters with humans are harmful to the dolphins: people hunt them for food, and dolphins are killed inadvertently as a bycatch of tuna fishing.

Contents

Taxonomy

Scientists were long aware that Tursiops might consist of more than one species. Molecular genetics allowed much greater insight into this previously intractable problem. The consensus is that there are two species:[2]

Profile photo of dolphin breaching
Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin, T. aduncus

The following are sometimes recognized as subspecies of T. truncatus:

  • the Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (T. gillii or T. truncatus gillii), living in the Pacific; has a black line from the eye to the forehead [5][6]
  • the Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphin (T. truncatus ponticus), living in the Black Sea.[5][7]

There are two ecotypes of the Common Bottlenose Dolphin within the Western North Atlantic.[8] These are represented by the shallower water or coastal ecotype and the more offshore ecotype.[8] Their ranges overlap, but they have been shown to be genetically distinct.[8] However, they are not currently described as separate species or subspecies. In general, there is significant genetic variation between populations of Common Bottlenose Dolphin, even among nearby populations.[3] As a result of this genetic variation, it is possible that there are other distinct species currently considered to be populations of Common Bottlenose Dolphin.[3]

Old scientific data do not distinguish among the two species, making it useless for determining structural differences between them. The IUCN lists both species as data deficient on their Red List of endangered species because of this issue.[9]

Some recent genetic evidence suggests that the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose belongs in the genus Stenella, since it is more like the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis) than the Common Bottlenose.[10][11]

Photo of left side of dolphin head at surface
Wolphin Kawili'Kai at the Sea Life Park in Hawaii

Hybrids

Bottlenose dolphins have been known to hybridize with other dolphin species. Hybrids with Risso's Dolphin occur both in the wild and in captivity.[12][13] Best known is the Wolphin, a False Killer Whale-Bottlenose Dolphin hybrid. The Wolphin is fertile, and two currently live at the Sea Life Park in Hawaii, The first was born in 1985 to a female Bottlenose. Wolphins also exist in the wild.[14] In captivity, a Bottlenose Dolphin and a Rough-toothed Dolphin hybridized.[15] A Common Dolphin-Bottlenose Dolphin hybrid born in captivity lives at SeaWorld California.[16][17] Other hybrids live in captivity around the world and in the wild, such as a Bottlenose Dolphin-Atlantic Spotted Dolphin hybrid.[18] Their size varies considerably with habitat. Except in the eastern Pacific, dolphins in warmer, shallower waters tend to be smaller than those in cooler pelagic waters.[1] A survey in the Moray Firth in Scotland, the world's second northernmost dolphin population, recorded an average adult length of just under 4 metres (13 ft) compared with a 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) average in a population off the coast of Florida.

Description

They are gray, varying from dark gray at the top near the dorsal fin to very light gray and almost white at the underside. This countershading makes it hard to see, both from above and below, when swimming. Adults range in length between 2 and 4 metres (6.6 and 13 ft), and in weight between 150 and 650 kilograms (330 and 1,400 lb).[19] Males are on average slightly longer and considerably heavier than females. In most parts of the world the adult's length is about 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) with weight ranges between 200 and 300 kilograms (440 and 660 lb).[3]

Bottlenose dolphins can live for more than 40 years.[20][21] However, one study off of Sarasota, Florida indicated an average lifespan of 20 years or less.[22]

Anatomy

Their elongated upper and lower jaws form what is called a rostrum, or snout, which gives the animal its common name, the Bottlenose Dolphin. The real, functional nose is the blowhole on top of its head; the nasal septum is visible when the blowhole is open.

Photo of dolphin above surface
Bottlenose dolphin head, showing rostrum and blowhole

Bottlenose dolphins have 18 to 28 conical teeth on each side of each jaw.[20][23]

The flukes (lobes of the tail) and dorsal fin are formed of dense connective tissue and do not contain bone or muscle. The animal propels itself by moving the flukes up and down. The pectoral flippers (at the sides of the body) are for steering; they contain bones homologous to the forelimbs of land mammals (from which all cetaceans evolved 50 million years ago). A bottlenose dolphin was discovered in Japan that has two additional pectoral fins, or "hind legs", at the tail, about the size of a human's pair of hands. Scientists believe that a mutation caused the ancient trait to reassert itself as a form of atavism.[24]

Physiology and senses

In colder waters they have more body fat and blood—more suited to deeper diving. Typically 18%–20% of their bodyweight is blubber.[25] Most research in this area has been restricted to the North Atlantic Ocean.[26]

Echolocation

The dolphin's search for food is aided by a form of sonar known as echolocation: they locate objects by producing sounds and listening for the echo. A broadband burst pulse of clicking sounds is emitted in a focused beam in front of the dolphin. To hear the returning echo they have two small ear openings behind the eyes, but most sound waves are transmitted to the inner ear through the lower jaw. As the object of interest is approached the echo grows louder, and the dolphins adjust by decreasing the intensity of the emitted sounds. (This contrasts with bats and sonar, which reduce sensitivity of the sound receptor.) The interclick interval also decreases as the animal nears the target. Evidently, the dolphin waits for each click's echo before clicking again. Echolocation details such as signal strength, spectral qualities, and discrimination are well-understood by researchers.[27] Bottlenose dolphins are also able to extract shape information, suggesting that they are able to form an "echoic image" or sound picture of their targets.[28]

Eyesight

Dolphins have sharp eyesight. The eyes are located at the sides of the head and have a tapetum lucidum, or reflecting membrane at the back of the retina, which aids vision in dim light. Their horseshoe-shaped double-slit pupil enables the dolphin to have good vision both in air and underwater, despite the different densities of these media.[29] When underwater the eyeball's lens serves to focus light, whereas in the in-air environment the typically bright light serves to contract the specialized pupil, resulting in sharpness from a smaller aperture (similar to a pinhole camera).

Smell

By contrast their sense of smell is poor,[30] because its blowhole, the analogue to the nose, is closed when underwater and opens only for breathing. It has no olfactory nerves or olfactory lobe in the brain.[30] Bottlenose dolphins are able to detect salty, sweet, bitter (quinine sulphate), and sour (citric acid) tastes, but this has not been well-studied.[30] Anecdotally, some animals in captivity have been noted to have preferences for food fish types although it is not clear that taste mediates this preference.[30]

Communication

Bottlenose dolphins communicate through squeaks, whistles, and body language. Examples of body language include leaping out of the water, snapping jaws, slapping the tail on the surface and butting heads.[31] Sounds and gestures help keep track of other dolphins in the group and alert other dolphins to danger and nearby food. Lacking vocal cords, they produce sounds using six air sacs near their blow hole. Each animal has a uniquely-identifying, frequency-modulated narrow-band signature vocalization (signature whistle).[32] Other communication uses about 30 distinguishable sounds, and although famously proposed by John Lilly in the 1950s, no "dolphin language" has been found. However, Herman, Richards, & Wolz demonstrated comprehension of an artificial language by two bottlenose dolphins (named Akeakamai and Phoenix) in the period of skepticism toward animal language following Herbert Terrace's critique.[33]

Intelligence

Bottlenose dolphin responding to human hand gestures

Cognition

Cognitive abilities investigated include concept formation, sensory skills, and mental representations. Such research has been ongoing since the 1970s. This includes:

Tool use and culture

At least some wild bottlenose dolphins use tools. In Shark Bay dolphins place a marine sponge on their rostrum, presumably to protect it when searching for food on the sandy sea bottom.[46] This has only been observed in this bay (first in 1997), and almost exclusively by females. Sea Otters are the only other marine mammalian tool users. A 2005 study showed that mothers most likely teach the behavior to their daughters, evincing culture (behavior learned from other species members).[47] Some Mauritanian dolphins cooperate with human fishermen. The dolphins drive a school of fish towards the shore where humans await with nets. In the confusion of casting nets, the dolphins catch a large number of fish as well. Intraspecial cooperative foraging has also been observed. These behaviors may also be transmitted via teaching. Controversially, Rendell & Whitehead have proposed a structure for the study of cetaceans culture,.[48][49]

Near Adelaide, in South Australia, three bottlenose dolphins 'tail-walk', whereby they elevate the upper part of their bodies vertically out of the water, and propel themselves along the surface with powerful tail movements. Tail-walking mostly arises via human training in dolphinaria. In the 1980s, a female from the local population was kept at a local dolphinarium for three weeks, and the scientist suggests, she copied the tail-walking behavior from other dolphins. Two other wild adult female dolphins have now copied it from her.[50]

Cortical neurons

Some researchers theorize that mammalian intelligence correlates to the number of nerve cells (neurons) in the cortex of the brain.[51] Bottlenose dolphins have about 5.8 billion cortical neurons, placing them between chimpanzees at 6.2 billion and gorillas at 4.3 billion. (Humans have 11.5 billion.)[51]

Life history

Respiration and sleep

The bottlenose dolphin has a single blowhole located on the dorsal surface of the head consisting of a hole and a muscular flap. The flap is closed during muscle relaxation and opens during contraction.[52] Dolphins are voluntary breathers, who must deliberately surface and open their blowholes to get air.[citation needed] They can store almost twice as much oxygen in proportion to their body weight as a human can. The dolphin can store 36 millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight, compared with 20 millilitres per kilogram for humans.[53] This is an adaptation to diving.[53] The bottlenose dolphin typically rises to the surface to breathe through its blowhole 2–3 times per minute,[54] although it can remain submerged for up to 20 minutes.[55]

Dolphins can breathe while "half-asleep". During the sleeping cycle one brain hemisphere remains active while the other hemisphere shuts down. The active hemisphere handles surfacing and breathing behavior.[56] The daily sleeping cycle lasts for approximately 8 hours, in increments of minutes to hours. During the sleeping cycle dolphins remain near the surface swimming slowly or "logging", occasionally closing one eye.[57]

Reproduction

Photo of juvenile diving just above its mother's dorsal fin
Mother and juvenile bottlenose dolphins head to the seafloor.

Both genders have genital slits on the underside of their bodies. The male can retract and conceal its penis through its slit.[58] The female's slit houses its vagina and anus. Females have two mammary slits, each housing one nipple, one on each side of the genital slit.[59][59] The ability to stow their reproductive organs (especially in males) allows for maximum hydrodynamics.

Males compete for access to females. Such competition can take the form of fighting other males or of herding females to prevent access by other males.[60][61] Mating occurs belly to belly.[61]

Dolphins are one of the few mammalian species that have been observed engaging in social sexual intercourse in the wild. Males and females have been observed engaging in intercourse when the females are not in their estrus cycles.

Breeding season produces significant physiological changes in males. At that time, testes enlarge, enabling it to hold more sperm. Large amounts of sperm allow a male to wash away the previous suitor's sperm, while leaving some of his own for fertilization. Also, sperm concentration markedly increases. Having less sperm for out-of-season social mating means that it wastes less. This suggests that sperm production is energetically expensive. Males have large testes in relation to their body size.[62]

The gestation period averages 12 months.[3] Births can occur at any time of year, although peaks occur in warmer months.[1] The young are born in shallow water, sometimes assisted by a (possibly male) "midwife" and usually only a single calf is born.[63] Twins are possible but rare. Newborn bottlenose dolphins are between 0.8–1.4 m (2.6–4.6 ft) 9–30 kg (20–66 lb) kilograms, with Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin infants generally smaller than Common Bottlenose Dolphin infants.[3]

To accelerate nursing, the mother can eject milk from her mammary glands. The calf suckles for 18 to 20 months, and continues to closely associate with its mother for several years after weaning.[20] Females sexually mature at ages 5–13, males at ages 9–14.[1] Females reproduce every 2 to 6 years.[3]

Georgetown University professor Janet Mann argues that the strong personal behavior among male calves is about bond formation and benefits the species in an evolutionary context. She cites studies showing that these dolphins as adults are inseparable, and that early bonds aid protection as well as in locating females.[64]

Male bottlenose dolphins have been observed working in pairs or larger groups to follow and/or restrict the movement of a female for weeks at a time, waiting for her to become sexually receptive.[60]

Social interaction

Photo of one large and two small dolphins breaching together
An adult female bottlenose dolphin with her young, Moray Firth, Scotland
Photo of two animals at surface surrounded by spray
A bottlenose dolphin attacks and kills a Harbour Porpoise at Chanonry Point, Scotland

Adult males live mostly alone or in groups of 2–3 and join pods for short periods of time. Adult female and young dolphins normally live in groups of up to 15 animals.[3] However, they live in fission-fusion societies of varying group size within which individuals change associations often on a daily or hourly basis.[65][66] Typically, a group of adult females and their newborns associate in a pod, while older juveniles inhabit mixed pods. Pods can join to form groups of 100 or more, occasionally exceeding 1,000.[3]

Bottlenose dolphins studied by Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute http://www.thebdri.com/ (BDRI) researchers off the island of Sardinia show random social behaviour while feeding and their social behaviour does not depend on feeding activity.[67] In Sardinia, the presence of a floating marine fin-fish farm has been linked to a change in bottlenose dolphin distribution as a result of high fish density around the floating cages in the farming area.[68]

Ecology

Feeding

Photo of three tuna underwater
Tuna are among the bottlenose dolphin's preferred foods

Its diet consists mainly of small fish, crustaceans, and squid.[1][3] Although this varies by location, many populations share an appetite for fish from the mullet family, the tuna and mackerel family, and the drum and croaker family.[1]

Its cone-like teeth serve to grasp but not to chew food.[69][70] When they encounter a shoal of fish they work as a team to herd them towards the shore in order to maximize the harvest.[3] They also hunt alone, often targeting bottom-dwelling species. The bottlenose dolphin sometimes hits a fish with its fluke, sometimes knocking it out of the water, using a strategy called "fish whacking".[21][71]

Bottlenose dolphins conflict with small-scale coastal commercial fisheries in some Mediterranean areas. Common Bottlenose Dolphins are probably attracted to fishing nets because they offer a concentrated food source.[72]

"Strand Feeding", is an inherited feeding technique used by Bottlenose Dolphins near and around coastal regions of South Carolina. When a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins finds a school of fish, they will circle the school and trap the fish in a mini whirlpool. Then the dolphins will charge at the school and push their bodies up onto a mud-flat, forcing the fish on the mud-flat as well. The dolphins then crawl around on their sides consuming the fish they washed up on shore.

Relations with other species

Dolphins exhibit altruistic behaviour toward other sea creatures. On Mahia Beach, New Zealand on March 10, 2008[73] two Pygmy Sperm Whales—a female and calf—stranded on the beach. Rescuers, including Department of Conservation officer Malcolm Smith, attempted to refloat them four times. Shortly a playful bottlenose dolphin known to local residents as Moko arrived and, after apparently communicating with the whales, led them 200 meters (656 ft) along a sandbar to the open sea, saving them from imminent euthanasia.[74]

The bottlenose dolphin can behave aggressively. Males fight for rank and access to females. During mating season males compete vigorously with each other through displays of toughness and size with a series of acts such as head-butting. They display aggression towards sharks, certain Killer whales, and smaller dolphin species. At least one population, off Scotland, has practiced infanticide, and also has attacked and killed Harbour Porpoises. University of Aberdeen researchers say the dolphins do not eat their victims, but are simply competing for food.[75] Similar behaviour has been observed in Ireland.[76]

The bottlenose dolphin sometimes forms mixed species groups with other species from the dolphin family, particularly larger species such as the Short-finned Pilot Whale, the False Killer Whale and Risso's Dolphin.[60][77][78] They also interact with smaller species, such as the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and the Rough-toothed Dolphin.[60][79] While interactions with smaller species are sometimes affiliative, they can also be hostile.[60]

Predators

Some large shark species, such as the tiger shark, the dusky shark, the great white shark and the bull shark prey on the bottlenose dolphin, especially pups.[61][80][81][82][83] The bottlenose dolphin is capable of defending itself by charging the predator: dolphin 'mobbing' behavior of sharks can occasionally prove fatal for the shark.[80] Targeting a single adult dolphin can be dangerous for a shark of similar size. Certain (but not all) killer whale (orca) populations may also prey on dolphins, but this seems rare.[80] and other orcas may swim with dolphins.

Swimming in pods allows dolphins to better defend themselves against predators. Bottlenose dolphins either use complex evasive strategies to out swim their predators or mobbing techniques to batter the predator to death or force it to flee.

Relation to humans

Interaction

Profile photo of dolphin soaring over the outstretched arms of an aquarium entertainer
At Notojima Aquarium, Japan

The species sometimes shows curiosity towards humans in or near water. Occasionally, they rescue injured divers by raising them to the surface. They also do this to help injured members of their own species.[80] In November 2004, a dramatic report of dolphin intervention came from New Zealand. Four lifeguards, swimming 100 meters (328 ft) off the coast near Whangarei, were approached by a shark (reportedly a Great White Shark). Bottlenose dolphins herded the swimmers together and surrounded them for forty minutes, preventing the shark from attacking, as they slowly swam to shore.[84]

In coastal regions, dolphins run the risk of colliding with boats. Researchers of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute first quantified data about solitary bottlenose dolphin diving behavior in the presence and absence of boats.[85]. Dolphins responded more to tourist than fishing vessels. Driving behavior, speed, engine type and separation distance all affect dolphin safety.

Bottlenose dolphins perform in many aquaria, generating much controversy. Some animal welfare activists claim that the dolphins do not have adequate space or receive adequate care or stimulation. However, others counter that the dolphins are properly cared for and enjoy interacting with humans.[80][86]

Eight bottlenose dolphins that lived at the Marine Life Aquarium in Gulfport, Mississippi were swept away from their aquarium pool during Hurricane Katrina. They were later rescued in the Gulf of Mexico.[87]

Therapies for handicapped children can include interactions with bottlenose dolphins.[80]

Photo of dolphin leaping clear of the water next to a man wearing a hat
K-Dog, trained by the US Navy to find mines and boobytraps underwater, leaping out of the water

The military of the United States and Russia train bottlenose dolphins as military dolphins for wartime tasks such as locating sea mines and detecting enemy divers.[88][89] The USA's program is the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, located in San Diego, California.[90]

Commercial 'dolphin encounter' enterprises and tours operate in many countries. In addition to such endeavors, the animals swim with and surface near surfers at the beach.[91]

In the town of Laguna in south Brazil, a pod of bottlenose dolphins drives fish towards fishermen who stand at the beach in shallow waters. One dolphin then rolls over, after which the fishermen throw out their nets. The dolphins feed on the escaping fish. The dolphins were not trained for this behavior; the collaboration began before 1847. Similar cooperative fisheries also exist in Mauritania, Africa.[92]

Culture

The popular television show Flipper, created by Ivan Tors, portrayed a bottlenose dolphin[93] in a friendly relationship with two boys, Sandy and Bud. A seagoing Lassie, Flipper understood English and was a hero: "Go tell Dad we're in trouble, Flipper! Hurry!" The show's theme song contains the lyric no one you see / is smarter than he. The television show was based on a 1963 film, and was remade as a feature film in 1996 starring Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan, as well as a second series running from 1995–2000 starring Jessica Alba.[94]

Other television appearances by bottlenose dolphins include seaQuest DSV, the HBO movie Zeus and Roxanne, in which a female bottlenose dolphin befriends a male dog, and a Halloween episode of The Simpsons.[citation needed]

Bottlenose dolphins have appeared in novels. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and one of its sequels, So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, the dolphins try to warn humans of Earth's impending destruction, but their behavior was misinterpreted as playful acrobatics. Bottlenose dolphins are also central to David Brin's series of Uplift Universe novels, particularly Startide Rising, where they are one of the two Earth species (along with Chimpanzees) to have been 'uplifted' to sentience. Bottlenose dolphins are primary characters in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, especially The Dolphins of Pern. Bottlenose dolphins are incorporated into the science fiction video game series Ecco the Dolphin. Delphineus, a dolphin, is also featured in the video game EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus, helping the boy, Adam, to find the sea king Cetus (a sperm whale), as well as assisting in cleaning up the underwater environment where he lives. Two dolphins also appeared in the film Jaws 3-D protecting Kay Morgan, the marine biologist, from shark attacks.[citation needed]

The Miami Dolphins NFL franchise uses the bottlenose dolphin as its mascot and team logo.

Factual descriptions of the dolphins date back into antiquity – the writings of Aristotle, Oppian and Pliny the Elder all mention the species.[1][95]

Threats

Bottlenose dolphins are still killed in dolphin drive hunts for their meat or to eliminate competition for fish.[96] Bottlenose dolphins (and several other dolphin species) often travel with tuna, and can get caught in tuna nets, which can kill the dolphins.[23][97] Boycotts of tuna products led to the concept of "dolphin-safe" labeling for fishing methods that avoid endangering dolphins.[97]

The man-made chemical perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) may be compromising the immune system of bottlenose dolphins.[98] PFOS affects the immune system of male mice at a concentration of 91.5 ppb,[99] while PFOS has been reported in bottlenose dolphins in excess of 1 ppm.[100]

High levels of metal contaminants have been measured in tissues in many areas of the globe. A recent study found high levels of cadmium and mercury in bottlenose dolphins from South Australia,[101] levels which were later found to be associated with kidney malformations, indicating possible health effects of high metal concentrations in dolphins.[102]

Conservation

Bottlenose dolphins are not endangered. Their future is stable because of their abundance and adaptability. However, specific populations are threatened due to various environmental changes. The population in the Moray Firth in Scotland is estimated to consist of around 150 animals and is declining by around 6% per year from harassment, traumatic injury, water pollution and reduction in food availability. Less local climate change, such as increasing water temperature may also play a role.[103]

In U.S. waters, hunting and harassing of marine mammals is forbidden in almost all circumstances. International trade in dolphins is also tightly controlled.

See also

References

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  2. ^ Rice, Dale W (1998). Marine mammals of the world: systematics and distribution (Special Publication). Society of Marine Mammalogy. ISBN 1-891276-03-4. 
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  11. ^ Leduc, R., Perrin, W. & Dizon, E. (August 18, 1998). "Phylogenetic Relationships among the Delphinid Cetaceans Based on Full Cytochrome B Sequences". Marine Mammal Science 15 (3): 619–648. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.1999.tb00833.x. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119937779/abstract. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
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General references

Further reading

Berrow, S.D. 2009. Winter distribution of Bottle-nosed Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus (Montagu)) in the inner Shannon Estuary. Ir. Nat J. 30: 35 - 39.


Simple English

Bottlenose Dolphin

File:Bottlenose dolphin

Size comparison against an average human
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Tursiops
Species: T. truncatus
Binomial name
Tursiops truncatus
Montagu, 1821
File:Cetacea range map Bottlenose
Bottlenose Dolphin range (in blue)

A bottlenose dolphin is a kind of dolphin. The name "bottlenose" comes from its snout being shaped like a bottle, although its real nose for breathing is just a hole on top of its head. It is very intelligent.

Look up Tursiops truncatus in Wikispecies, a directory of species








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