Posts Tagged ‘field guide’

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.

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.