Here are some interesting facts about the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin we see all year around in Algoa Bay off Port Elizabeth.
Length: 2,7 metres
Weight: 230 kg
Calf length: 1,1 metres
Calf weight: 21 kg
Diet: Schooling, demersal and reef fish, squid and octopus.
Behaviour: Leaps, arches, tailislapping, porpoising, bow-riding, surfing. Inquisite, highly intelligent, adaptable predators, capable of problem solving, toll use and exhibiting some flexibility in terms of prey. They generally form pods of 5-15 animals, though they can be found in groups of several hundred individuals (fission-fusion).
Distribution: There are three species of bottlenose dolphins: Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus), Burrunan Bottlenose Dolphin or Burrunan Dolphin (Tursiops Australis) and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Aduncas). All the species have fission-fusion societies.
Generally it is somewhat smaller and slimmer than the common bottlenose, having a less robust melon and a longer, thinner beak, which contains more teeth. The dorsal fin is broad-based and falcate, proportionately taller than that of the common bottlenose dolphin. Colouration of the Indo-Pacific Dolphin is also similar to the common species; it is greyish to milky brown with a noticeably darker cape and lighter belly. Some individuals have a spotted belly (not often seen in Algoa Bay), but this is highly variable among individuals and is often age-dependant.
Photos: Monica Lozano Subiranas