Bottle-Nose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus)

Latin name: Tursiops truncatus
Common name: Bottle-nose dolphins
In other languages: E: Delfin mular; F: Grand dauphin, D: Großer Tümmler
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Family: Delphinidae
Genus: Tursiops

Distribution: Common throughout the Mediterranean and the Atlantic both in inshore waters and the open ocean, with those in open water being much darker than the coastal representatives.

Habitat: Likes the open sea, however does frequent inshore waters, estuaries and bays. Within the Bay of Gibraltar they visit during spring and early summer to give birth to calves in the shelter of the bay. At that time of year there are plentiful resources for lactating mothers.

Life-Span: Males can reach the age of 40 to 45 years, with up to 50 years females can live a little longer.

Reproduction: Sexually mature at the age of 11 years (males) or 12 years (females). Gestation time is 12 to 13 months with only one calf being born. The calving interval is usually every three 3 years, but can be a little less.

Behaviour: They move as an extended family group. They feed individually to the great part but will and have been seen feeding collectively. The males have very little to do with the calves who remain with their mothers or are looked after by female matriarchs while the mother undergoes deep dives for food - this is due to the weaning age being around 19 to 20 months.

Diet: Fish, cuttlefish, crustaceans.

Size: At birth: 98cm to 140cm; adult males: 250cm to 390cm; adult females: 250cm to 370cm.

Did you know? In the open water the bottle-nosed dolphin is much larger than those seen on display. One should not be fooled into believing that it cannot be aggressive, so do not try and swim with them in the open sea. It may be conceived as a threat to them, as there are always calves within these herds.

Links: Dolphins - Research & Protection

Protected under EU law and Gibraltar's Nature Protection Ordinance