• They have a lot more to teach us.

    We've learned a lot with your help. But there's still so much we need to know to protect our wild dolphin neighbors.

    Give to dolphin research at the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

  • Sea Turtel sick and injured from fishing line

    You can stop this.

    Protecting marine wildlife is within your reach.

    When you give to put monofilament recycling bins within reach of conscientious boaters and anglers.

  • Harbor seal in need

    Save lives, reduce suffering, learn more.

    It's a win, win, win – when you support our Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

    Please give generously to the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

  • Cetacean Studies

    Inspire curiosity.

    What does it take to get students interested in science and conservation? Your help.

    Please give generously to support Cetacean Studies and the Bonehenge rearticulation project.

Author Archive


Tursiops truncatus is the scientific name for the common bottlenose dolphin. Tursiops is also the user name shared by volunteers who contribute to this blog. If you have an idea for a blog post, or think we should comment on an article you've found, click the contact button above and drop us a line!

Amazing whale photos

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Cetacean Studies

Weather.com has an amazing slide show of whale photography from National Geographic photographer Chuck Nicklin’s new book: Among Giants: A Life With Whales (University of Chicago Press, June 2011). Definitely worth checking out these amazing images.

Click here for amazing whale pictures!

Small fish feed on a humpback’s loose skin near Maui in 2004. Photography by Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures, from Among Giants

Bottlenose Dolphin

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Marine Mammal Field Guide

Dolphin jumping in the Estuary

Bottlenose dolphin jumping in the Estuary.

Tursiops truncatus

Adult Length Range: 1.9 – 3.8m Light gray to black, fading to white on the belly. They have a short snout extending forward from the melon.

Dolphin catching fish

Grab it! A dolphin tries to catch a jumping fish. Photo by Leigh Torres

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are the most common marine mammal in the coastal and estuarine waters near Cape Lookout and Beaufort, NC.

Bottlenose dolphin are opportunistic feeders and will hunt whatever is most abundant. They are highly adaptable and congregate in groups. Some males bond in groups of 2 or 3 and mother and calf bonds are usually strong.

25 second hydrophone recording sound clip of 17 bottlenose dolphins off Shackleford Banks. Click here for ringtone or here for iPhone m4r.

Bottlenose Dolphin background and research in North Carolina

North Carolinians have related to dolphins in a variety of ways ranging from commercial dolphin net fisheries (late 1700s-1920s, used primarily for oil, leather, and fertilizer) to conservation of this depleted and federally protected population.

Mom and calf, bottlenose dolphin

Today, threats to dolphins include unintentional entanglement in commercial and recreational fishing gear, ingestion of litter, contamination of food sources, boat strikes, and intentional (but illegal) feeding of dolphin by boaters.

Researchers at the NC Maritime Museum have been using photo-identification since 1985 to study the local bottlenose dolphins.

Blog Migration

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Website Management

We’ve added the final blog entry to the Spyhop Log at Blogspot. Here it is (below). Thanks to BlogSpot and to all the wonderful contributors who’ve kept the Spyhop Log up and running over all these years. If you’ve been a contributor in the past, and would like to be again, contact us and we’ll set you up with access to the new blog!

The final blogspot post is shown here:

Spyhop Log moving from Blogspot to CapeLookoutStudies.org

Like the marine mammals we love so much, it’s time for the Spyhop Log to migrate.

Blog migration, stage 2

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Website Management

The blog was imported over from BlogSpot this morning. Now, the images are being imported as well. Most came over without a fight, but there’s a few that have to be moved over one-at-a-time.

Next we’ll place a post on the BlogSpot site to let people know this is the new spot for the blog. [ DONE! ] If you’re looking for an old post, they should still be posted at the original date. If you run into a broken link or an issue with an older post, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

Now, we are manually adding all the older Spyhop Logs from the original website. Those that were written before the “B” was added to the “Log”! This is happening today!

Finally, we will create a forward so that those visiting a link to the old site, will be automatically redirected to this one.