During a survey in the Newport River on August 27, 2012, Keith Rittmaster, Josh Summers, and Todd Sturgell encountered a nursery group of approx. 20 bottlenose dolphins (4-5 of which were calves born this year). Easily identifiable was a dolphin named “Mom”, #572. Her sighting history in Beaufort is represented on the table below. The first time we identified her, she was with a newborn calf (called a neonate) in 1987. We don’t know if that was her first calf. Since female bottlenose dolphins reach sexual maturity at around 10 years old, we think she would be at least 35 years old now. In the Aug. 27, 2012 sighting, she did not appear to have a calf with her. Near the dolphins was a school of Atlantic menhaden preyed upon by gulls and bluefish (pic below left). Also below are a few additional photos of distinct dorsal fins in the group, the identification of which will await closer
examination back at the lab. In Mom’s sighting table below, the red cells indicate months and years in which we have at least one photo of Mom in Beaufort, NC. The blue lines show the month and year in which the designated photo was taken.
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