Bottle-nosed Dolphin © Jeff Foott
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.
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.
Inshore waters including estuaries, shallow bays,
waterways, and freshwater rivers; sometimes to edge of continental shelf.
In Atlantic from Nova Scotia to
Venezuela, including Gulf of Mexico. In Pacific from S. California to tropics.
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