Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin

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Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin

Most people are probably unaware that there is more than one type of bottlenose dolphin. There are actually three in total: the common bottlenose dolphin, the indo- pacific bottlenose dolphin and the burrunan dolphin. The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin is slightly smaller than the common bottlenose dolphin. It only usually grows to a length of 8 and a half feet and weighs up to a maximum of 510 lb.

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are named after the region in which they are most commonly found. They are continually spotted in the warm waters off the coast of India, North Australia, South China and the Red Sea. They are dark grey in color with a white belly. If you get close enough to an Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, you will be able to see that it has grey spots on the underside of its belly, but this can be extremely hard to see even for professionals when studying dolphins in the wild.

The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin also has a longer beak than the common bottlenose. This means that its jaw is also longer and there is space for more teeth. Most Indo- Pacific dolphins have an average of 46 – 58 teeth, whereas common bottlenose dolphins only have between 42 and 48 teeth. The dolphins use these teeth to help them catch and grasp fish and squid which make up the vast majority of their diet. They do occasionally eat crustaceans but scientists think that this may be by accident or only on very rare occasions.

Like common bottlenose dolphins, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins tend to live in smaller groups. They are sometimes spotted in groups of hundreds of dolphins, but usually live in pods of 5 to 15 individuals with which they can form close social bonds. They are a sociable breed and are often found socializing with groups of common bottlenose dolphins and humpback dolphins where their habitat ranges overlap. It was only in 1998 that Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and common bottlenose dolphins were declared as being different species. Until then, they were both regarded as being variations of the same bottlenose dolphin species. Because this has happened so recently, there is very little historical data which can be used regarding both species of bottlenose dolphin. All of the data which was gathered before 1998 can no longer be used as it groups common bottlenose dolphins and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins together in one category. For this reason, the conservation status of bottlenose dolphins cannot be accurately described and all species of bottlenose dolphin are described as ‘data deficient’ on the red list of endangered species.

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Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin


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