Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus).
As <i>Discovery News</i> is reporting, research scientists at the University of Massachusetts studied more than 120 bottlenose dolphins in western Australia, concluding that the males were "found to engage in extensive bisexuality, combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality." Furthermore, male dolphin pairs, and even trios, cooperate to sequester and herd individual females during the mating season
Feeding behaviors are diverse, primarily involving individual prey capture, but sometimes involving coordinated efforts to catch food, feeding in association with human fishing, and chasing fish into mudbanks. An adult bottlenose dolphin may consume 15-30 pounds (8-15 kg) of food each day. Bottlenose dolphins eat a wide variety of food, including primarily fishes, and sometimes squid, and crustaceans.
Our findings further support, for the first time in wild bottlenose dolphins, the suggestion that acoustic features may be good predictors of behavioural state and vice versa. These results advocate that these parameters may be used to communicate specific information on the behavioural context of the individuals involved.
The playbacks test whether dolphins can discriminate among different signature whistles — distinctive whistles that give each dolphin a unique identity. Previous work suggests that they can: Bottlenose dolphin mothers seem to respond more strongly to whistles of their own offspring than to those of familiar non-offspring, and a calf responds more to its mother’s whistle than to those of other females.
They communicate with whistle vocalizations and find a wide variety of prey by echolocation, a series of high frequency clicks (about 110-130 kHz). These dolphins are capable of combining the echolocation clicks into short series or elaborate trains of sound
Dolphins are highly intelligent animals; they have a sophisticated echolocation system and communicate via a range of sounds. Although lone individuals occur, this is typically a very sociable animal, living in groups numbering between 10 and 100 individuals; even larger groups may form offshore.
All bottlenose dolphins around the world were previously recognized as <i> T. truncatus</i>, but recently the genus has been split into two species: <i>T. truncatus</i> and <i>T. aduncus</i> (the smaller Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin). However, the taxonomy of bottlenose dolphins is confused, due to geographical variation, and it is very possible that additional species will be recognized in the future.
Bottlenosed dolphins are found everywhere except polar waters. Deep water bottlenosed dolphins come up to take breaths every 1 to 2 minutes, whereas inshore bottlenosed dolphins take breaths two times per minute. Bottlenosed dolphins have been known, however, to dive deep enough to go 4.5 minutes without taking a breath. Bottlenosed dolphins are found in bays, estuaries, sounds, open shorelines and large, estuarine rivers.
Bottlenose dolphins are 8-12 feet (2.4-3.7 meters) long. Their coloration varies from shades of gray (gray-green, gray-brown, light gray) on the backs to white below the jaw and on the belly. Bottlenose dolphins have 18 to 26 small, sharp teeth on each side of their upper and lower jaws.
Two dolphins were exposed to reflective surfaces, and both demonstrated responses consistent with the use of the mirror to investigate marked parts of the body. This ability to use a mirror to inspect parts of the body is a striking example of evolutionary convergence with great apes and humans.