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Bottlenose Dolphin


Bottlenose Dolphin - Tursiops truncatus.

Bottlenose Dolphin - Tursiops truncatus.

Photo courtesy NASA.

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) belongs to the Family Delphinidae, the largest family of the Order Cetacea, which includes killer whales, pilot whales, and other dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins grow to lengths of 180 to 400 cm and reach weights of 90 to 650 kg. They have a short snout and a broad, hooked dorsal fin. Their body color varies throughout their populations but usually individuals exhibit a dark blue-gray or brown-gray dorsal surface and a pale pinkish or white underbelly.

Bottlenose dolphins exhibit a high degree of intelligence, exhibit numerous vocal abilities, and are believed to posess a complex language. They are social creatures and travel in groups. The swim at speeds of 12 or more miles per hour. They are also known for their emotional complexity. Although bottlenose dolphins do not migrate, they travel extensively in search of food resources.


Where to See:

Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean. Also occurs in Mediterranean Sea. Prefers the warm, shallower waters of bays and lagoons. Occasionally found in large rivers.


  • Burnie D, Wilson DE. 2001. Animal. London: Dorling Kindersley. 624 p.
  • Ballenger L, Lindsley T. 2003. Tursiops truncatus, [Animal Diversity Web. May 25, 2004.


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