Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Species name refers to the short, truncated beak. Circum-global in cold temperate to tropical waters
At sea identification: Mean adult body length in our region is 2.5 m, occasionally reaching to 3m. This is in line with a slimmer and shorter near-shore morph, which in other world locations is genetically distinct from a larger (up to 4 m long) off-shore morph. Short, thick, cylindrical beak, well separated from the melon by a sharp crease. Robust body with grey to brown uniform coloration and a light belly. Variable shape of dorsal fin (aids in individual identification). Seen close to shore in groups of 5-6 (average) females and calves or juveniles, very fluid in number and composition. Adult males travel solitary or in pairs, occasionally joining encountered groups. Sociable and inquisitive, likes to bow-ride. Trails bottom trawlers, diving for 2-4 minutes and coming up for 4-5 breaths between dives.
Identifying marks on land: The shape of the beak is characteristic. Up to 24 large, smooth and conical teeth in each half jaw. The majority of Israeli strandings are of this species.
Common in the Mediterranean, but in a declining trend, with fragmented populations. The only truly inshore species in our region. An extremely versatile forager, feeding on a variety of bottom and shallow water schooling fish. Natural predators are large sharks. Most solitary sociable dolphins are of this species, yet they are strong, wild animals and should be thus treated. Breads year round, pregnancy lasting 12 months and calves are usually weaned at 20 months but stay with their mother at least until the next birth.
Additional facts (local population):
Adult weight: Up to 300 Kg.
Newborn length is 1.1 meters and weight is 20 kg.
Oldest individual: 30 years.