Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) acquire cuts and notches on their dorsal fins through normal day-to-day activities. Some notches are caused by dolphins biting each other. Others are a result of entanglement or boat strikes. Photos of these notches allow us to identify individual dolphins, a process known as photo-ID. Using photo-ID, we study residency patterns, migrations, associations, reproduction, and the impacts of entanglement.
Trigger (#2630) has a very identifiable dorsal fin most likely reflecting damage inflicted by a boat propeller. Trigger is a winter-time regular in the water of Gallants Channel and Taylor’s Creek in Beaufort, NC. He (actually we don’t know the gender) spends summers near Manteo. In the sighting table below the photos, the blue cells represent months in which we have seen Trigger in Beaufort. As you can see, we have only seen Trigger during the months of October-April, and have seen him every winter since 2000, except 2008.