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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus

A familiar sight worldwide in marine aquariums, the bottlenose dolphin is a playful and inquisitive mammal, with a habit of interacting with humans in the wild. Its color varies from light blue to slate gray, with a paler underside. It has a pronounced beak, a slightly hooked dorsal fin, and up to 25 pairs of peglike teeth in each jaw.

Bottlenose dolphins are highly sociable and often travel in groups of several dozen. Like other dolphins, they find prey by echolocation, but they also use sound to communicate, using a complex repertoire of whistles, clicks, and squeaks.

They frequently ride the bow-waves of ships and body-surf on breaking waves. Females give birth to a single calf once every 2–3 years. In some parts of the world, bottlenose dolphins play with human swimmers—a form of learned behavior that can persist for many years.

What Oceana Does to Protect Bottlenose Dolphins

Oceana works to protect marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins from becoming bycatch in fisheries.

Bottlenose Dolphinzoom image
Bottlenose Dolphinzoom image
Bottlenose Dolphinzoom image
Bottlenose Dolphinzoom image
Bottlenose Dolphinzoom image
  • Order Cetacea
  • Length 6–10 ft (2–3 m)
  • Weight Up to 1,450 lb (650 kg)
  • Habitat Coastal waters, open oceans
  • Distribution Temperate and tropical regions worldwide
Bottlenose Dolphin habitat mapzoom image