This warm-blooded mammal is no fish! Bottle-nosed dolphins travel in large groups called "pods" and feed by corralling large numbers of fish and taking turns feeding.
Bottle-nosed dolphins can often be seen offshore and in bays during the warmer months of March through August.
Adult size: 10 - 13 feet in length
Adult weight: 400 - 800 pounds
Coloration: Dorsal area gray with a lighter colored belly
Habitat: Warm, tropical waters of the world
Diet: Fish, squid, shrimp, and mollusks. In Texas bays, their diet consists mainly of mullet.
Range: Mid-Atlantic to Gulf of Mexico and in Texas bays.
Lifespan: Average is 25 years in the wild. In captivity, average lifespan is 35 years or more.
Use echolocation to find food. The dolphin makes sounds that bounce off of the fish and back to the dolphin.
Sexual Maturity: Females reach sexual maturity around 10 years of age or sooner. Males reach sexual maturity at about 10 years of age or later.
Breeding Season: Early March to mid May.
Gestation Period: About 12 months
Young: Have one baby called a "calf"; live birth
Dolphins and Man
Over the centuries, man has become increasingly intrigued by the dolphin.
Dolphins are friendly, playful, and most of all, very smart. Their willingness to interact with humans have prompted scientists to try and understand their language (if there is one) and to train them for use in dolphinariums, dolphin "therapy" centers, and use in military maneuvers. It is for these purposes that bottle-nosed dolphins have been captured live for the past 80 years from the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, the numbers of live captures has significantly decreased partly due the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Before this act was passed, dolphins were unintentionally killed by the thousands in tuna fishing nets. Since larger yellowfin tuna travel in large groups with the dolphins, fisherman ended up killing the dolphins when surrounding the tuna with nets. Since 1990, a tuna boycott forced the tuna industry to purchase tuna caught on boats that fished in areas where there were no dolphins.
If the label on a tuna can says "dolphin safe", this is evidence that no dolphins were harmed when the tuna was caught.
If you spot a stranded marine mammal on the beach, call the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network at: 1-800-9-MAMMAL. You might save a dolphin's life!
Thanks for the web site: http://126.96.36.199/expltx/eft/gulf/cspecies/dolphin.htm