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BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN Tursiops truncatus


MMPA Depleted - Western North Atlantic Coastal




Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Cetacea

Family: Delphinidae

Genus: Tursiops

Species: truncatus


Species Description

Weight:300-1400 lbs (135-635 kg)

Length:6.0-12.5 ft (~2-4 m)

Appearance:light gray to black

Lifespan:40-50 years; sexual maturity varies by

population but ranges from 5-14 years of age

Diet:invertebrates, squids, fishes

Behavior:use high frequency echolocation to locate

and capture prey; use multiple feeding strategies


The bottlenose dolphin is one of the most well known species of marine mammals. They have a robust body and a short, thick beak. Their coloration ranges from light gray to black with lighter coloration on the belly.

Bottlenose dolphins range in lengths from 6.0 to 12.5 ft (1.8 to 3.8 m) with males slightly larger than females. Adults weight from 300-1400 lbs (136-635 kg). This is a long-lived dolphin species with a lifespan of 40-45 years for males and more than 50 years for females.

Bottlenose dolphins are commonly found in groups of 2 to 15 individuals.

This species is often associated with pilot whales.

Bottlenose dolphins are generalists and feed on a variety of prey items "endemic" to their habitat, foraging individually and cooperatively. Like other dolphins, bottlenose dolphins use high frequency echolocation to locate and capture prey. Coastal animals prey on "benthic" invertebrates and fish, and offshore animals feed on pelagic squid and fish.

Sexual maturity varies by population and ranges from 5-13 years for females and 9-14 years for males. Calves

are born after a 12 month gestation period and are weaned at 18 to 20 months. On average, calving occurs

every 3 to 6 years. Females as old as 45 years have given birth.



NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2012 [online] 14 march 2016)

Bottlenose Dolphin Range

Click for larger view

Credit: NOAA

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