Domain – Eukarya Kingdom – Animalia Phylum – Chordata Class – Mammalia
Order – Cetacea Family – Delphinidae Genus – Tursiops
Species – Tursiops truncates
The Tursiops truncate, more commonly known as the bottlenose dolphin, lives in temperate to tropical ocean waters. They are usually found in shallow waters within 100 miles of land, often bays and lagoons. Bottlenose dolphins can grow up to 13 feet long and weigh as much as 600 pounds.
Tursiops truncate have torpedo-shaped body that helps it to move quickly and easily through the water. They have a pair of paddle shaped forelimbs called flippers but no hind limbs and a dorsal fin on its back. Their powerful tail, called a fluke, is used to push them through the water. Bottlenose dolphins’ entire body has a good sense of touch and highly developed sense of hearing of both high and low pitch. Bottlenose dolphins can hear 150-153,000 cycles per second. Humans hear 15,000-20,000 cycles per second. Bottlenose dolphins have no sense of smell, but they have very good vision for close range.
Tursiops truncate have lungs like all other mammals. They surface regularly to breath through their blowhole once or twice a minute. When bottlenose dolphins dive deeper their lungs collapse. Their heart rate also slows down allowing its body to adjust to the increased pressure. Bottlenose dolphins have a closed circulatory system like all other mammals. A closed circulatory system is when the blood is completely contained within blood vessels and flows in a continuous circuit through the body under pressure generated by the heart.
To locate objects underwater they use their natural sonar system called echolocation. Echolocation works by making a series of clicking sounds which leave the bottlenose dolphin’s body through the melon. The melon is an organ on top of the head of a dolphin made of special fatty tissue that detects the sound forward. They listen to the echoes and can determine how far away an object is. Bottlenose dolphins communicate with each other with series of complex whistles and clicks called phonations. They also slap their flukes on water.
Tursiops truncate eat a broad variety of seafood. This includes squid, shrimp, eels, and a wide variety of fishes. They often follow shrimp boats to get what they miss or discard. Bottlenose dolphins often live and hunt in groups of about 12. They heard small fishes and pick off the stragglers. They can eat 6-7 kg per day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Samantha Schemberger