Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Description
Bottlenose Dolphins are stout-bodied animals with a short beak and erect dorsal fin. Their coloration is grey tinged with purple above and paler undersides. Adults can grow to about 10 feet.
Life History
Bottlenose Dolphins occur alone or in small groups (or "pods") of up to eight individuals. Texas dolphins are organized into sub-populations occupying specific areas of the coast. They feed on a wide variety of fish and mollusks, though mullet constitutes a large part of their diet in Texas bays. Through echolocation, they find food, using groans, whistles and barks. Their gestation period is about 12 months and a single calf is born every second or third year. Young dolphins may nurse for a year or more and "baby-sitting" of calves by other dolphins has been observed. Dolphins show remarkable instances of cooperation. To aid an injured individual, dolphins may support the hurt animal at the surface.
Habitat
This species found in our bays is seen most frequently at passes to the Gulf.
Distribution
Of the twenty-six species of whales and dolphins noted on the Texas coast, the Bottlenose Dolphin is the most common. Bottlenose Dolphins are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters. Although these dolphins occur as far north as Nova Scotia, they are most common in coastal waters from New England to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and south to Venezuela.
Other
You may find marine mammals stranded on beaches. Although the causes of strandings are often unclear, they may be due to disease, injuries or health problems associated with pollution. If you come across a live stranding keep the animal wet while keeping its blowhole above water, reduce stress by keeping crowds and pets away and stay with the animal. Call the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of marine mammals) at 1-800-9 MAMMAL. Information retrieved from stranded dolphins may lead to a better understanding of this phenomenon.

Back to Top
Back to Top