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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!

Dolphin Epimelitic Behavior, Nov. 1, 2015

Written by Tursiops. Posted in bottlenose dolphin photo ID, Conservation, Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Sighting Report, Uncategorized

On Sunday, Nov. 1st, Katrina Smith reported a floating dead north carolina dolphin in the Newport River near the ICW at the Morehead Beaufort Yacht Club. Upon arrival, Vicky Thayer (NCDMF and NCSU CMAST) and Keith Rittmaster (NCMM) of the NC Marine Mammal Stranding Network noticed it was being supported and moved by another dolphin, a behavior termed “epimeletic”. After approximately 90 minutes of taking photos and video, and seeking help, they (with volunteer Nelson Owens) brought the dead dolphin carcass onto Lee Sykes’ TowBoat US boat near the Morehead/Beaufort high-rise bridge 5 kilometers from where it was initially sighted. After a brief examine, they put it in the CMAST freezer for future necropsy. The most interesting aspect about this case so far is that the dead dolphin, the one being supported and pushed, was a non-lactating adult female. This is unusual because such epimeletic behavior has often been directed towards dead calves, but not towards an adult dolphin as far as we know.

Both bottlenose dolphins are in the nc maritime museum dorsal fin photo-ID catalog, although neither has been seen often. An upcoming necropsy as part of our ongoing dolphin research will yield more information about the dead dolphin, and hopefully future sightings of the “pusher” will teach us more about that dolphin as well.TBUS-VT-NO-Tt-web-credit


2014 Thank you donors, volunteers, contributors and collaborators

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Thank You / Volunteer

Listed below are individuals/groups whose generosity helped sustain the Cape Lookout Studies Program in 2014 by providing:

Cleaning supplies, office supplies, photo paper, printer/copier, printer ink, batteries, plane tickets, shade canopy, stainless hardware, surgical gloves, lumber, band saw, drill bits, orbital sander, sand paper, vacuum cleaner, food, drinks, notebooks, XM Radio subscription, web hosting fees, web site maintenance, $4,399 in cash donations/grants and approximately 1,292 hours of volunteer time.  THANK YOU!!

Sincere thanks also go out to everyone who has an NC “Protect Wild Dolphins” special license plates which raised for Friends of the Museum a total of $10,120 in 2014.   The dolphins thank you too.

Bud Doughton

Al Fitz


Blake Dodge

Bobbi Wallinger

Carl Spangler

Carolina Cay Maritime Found.

Carteret Animal Hospital

Dennis Sorensen

Duke Coastal Society

Durham Academy

Elena Kovalik

Elizabeth Hanrahan

John Stanton

Friends of the Hammocks

Friends of the Museum

Harriett Watkins

Historical Soc. of Topsail Isl.

Hope Longest

Howard Lineberger

John Fussell

John Russell

Josh Summers

Keith Rittmaster

Kim Merrels

Lookout Foundation

Lora/Vic Fasolino

Mackenzie Russell

Mallory Lowe

Matty Jackman

Mary & Haywood Holderness

Mary Hunnings

Nelson Owens

Patti Owens

Paul Nader

Paula Dailey

“Protect Wild Dolphins” license plates

Regina & Bruce McCutcheon

Rich Shapiro

Rob Gourley


Steve Hassenfelt

Suzanne & Vance Knight

Ted Phillips

Todd Sturgell

Verena Lawaetz

Vicky Thayer

Wendy Donaldson

Click here to visit our Thank You page – dedicated to the supporters, volunteers, backers and collaborators of the Cape Lookout Studies Program.