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Bottle-Nose Dolphin
Bottle-nosed Dolphin © Jeff Foott
Bottle-nosed Dolphin
Tursiops truncatus

Description
    To 12' (3.7 m). Robust; back usually dark gray, sides lighter gray, shading to pink or white on belly; individuals vary from albino to nearly black; distinct dark cape often on head and back; old females may have spots on belly. Beak well defined but relatively short; transverse groove between forehead and snout. Dorsal fin near center of back, prominent, broad-based, falcate, tip pointed.
Similar Species
   Risso's Dolphin (Grampus griseus) has bulbous head with V-shaped crease. Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella plagiodon) has spots on mature individuals; snout longer. Rough-toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis) has long, sloping snout, not clearly separated from forehead.
Habitat
   Inshore waters including estuaries, shallow bays, waterways, and freshwater rivers; sometimes to edge of continental shelf.
Range
   In Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Venezuela, including Gulf of Mexico. In Pacific from S. California to tropics.
Discussion
   The Bottlenosed Dolphin is also known as the Bottlenosed Porpoise, Gray Porpoise, Common Porpoise, and Black Porpoise. The name may be prefixed by "Atlantic" or "Pacific." These dolphins feed on a wide variety of fishes, squids, shrimps, and crabs, and often follow trawlers and other fishing boats to feed on the unwanted fish that are thrown overboard and on organisms stirred up by the nets. They are particularly adept at locating prey using echolocation, that is, projecting a sound beam and listening to the echo. They ride the bow waves of boats and even surf waves. There are many records of wild Bottlenosed Dolphins voluntarily approaching humans closely enough to be touched. While these dolphins do communicate among themselves (as probably all cetaceans do), there is no good evidence that they talk to people.

Information taken from
eNature.com

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