Tursiops truncatus   (Montagu,  1821) (Dolphin)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Size: Male: 4 m; Female: 3.6 m. Males outgrow the females.

Weight: Varies from 90-650 kg.

Color: The coloration is variable, but is usually a dark grey on the back, a lighter grey on the flanks, graduating to white to pink on the belly. Some specimen has spots on them.

The head and trunk are robust, growing slimmer behind the dorsal fin. The snout is clearly demarcated from the bulbous forehead by a sharp crease. The beak of this large dolphin is usually short and stubby. The dorsal fin is moderately tall and triangular or sickle shaped, and the flippers are rather long. There are 18-26 pairs of teeth in each jaw. Whilst feeding, the bottlenose dolphins swap the water with flukes, as well as leap and perform other acrobatics.

The Bottlenose Dolphin is found in small herds, which sometimes gather into much larger schools. They group, cooperate and communicate between themselves when hunting for food. In cooperative defense, they may ram large sharks with their beaks or heads, and the impact could be great enough to lift the fish out of the water. They can reach speeds of 25 km per hour. They often mix with other dolphin species. Individuals indulge in cooperative foraging to maximize prey capture. Their social organization has now been researched and interesting information is available on their migration, mother-calf bonds and behavior in captivity.
Its familiarity may also be credited to its appearance in entertainment shows and mass media.

Similar species: Due to range overlaps, Bottlenose dolphin may be mistaken for some species elsewhere. From a distance they resemble Risso's dolphin, however, bottlenose dolphins are distinct.

Synonym (s)
Delphinus (Tursio) cymodoce Burmeister, 1867
Delphinus compressicauda Lesson, 1828
Delphinus erebennus Cope, 1865
Delphinus metis [No.1] Gray, 1846
Delphinus nesarnack Lacepede, 1804
Delphinus nesarnak Reichenback, 1846
Delphinus parvimanus Lutken, 1887
Delphinus troncatus F. Cuvier, 1836
Delphinus truncatus Montagu, 1821
Delphinus tursio Bonnaterre, 1789
Delphinus tursio obtusus Schlegel, 1862
Tursio cymodice Figueira, 1894
Tursio metis Gray, 1868
Tursio truncatus Gray, 1843
Tursiops gephyreus Lahille, 1908
Tursiops gilli Dall, 1873
Tursiops gillii Scammon, 1874
Tursiops maugeanus Iredale & Troughton, 1934
Tursiops nuuanu Andrews, 1911
Tursiops parvimanus Van Beneden, 1886
Tursiops subridens Flower, 1884
Tursiops truncantus Montagu, 1821
(Spelling mistake)
Tursiops truncatus gilli Tomilin, 1962
Tursiops truncatus gillii Tomilin, 1957
Tursiops tursio Gervais, 1855

Common Name (s)
• Bottlenosed Dolphin (English)
• Australian Bottlenose (English)
• Dawson's Dolphin (English)
• Black Dolphin (English)
• Grey Dolphin (English)
• Bottlenosed Porpoise (English)
• Chankan Edi (Malayalam)
• Gadamu (Telugu)
• Ongole (Tamil)
• Ongil (Tamil)
• Odan (Tamil)
• Bottlenose Dolphin (English)
• Bottle-nosed Dolphin (English)
• Common Bottlenose Dolphin (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Captured for live display.)

Habitat:  Coastal
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Bay of Bengal
• Kerala, Trivandrum INDIA
• Bay of Bengal
• Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam INDIA
• Kerala, Trivandrum INDIA (Record: 14/02/1901)
• Kerala, Trivandrum INDIA (Record: 7/3/1901)
• Kerala, Trivandrum Coast INDIA (Record: 15/10/1903)
• Kerala, Off Trivandrum INDIA (Record: 10/1904)
• Kerala, Travancore INDIA
• Kerala, Kozhikode INDIA
• Kerala, Off Kozhikode INDIA (Record: 21/12/1978)
• Tamil Nadu, Krusadai Island INDIA
• Kerala, Off Kozhikode INDIA (Record: 1/12/1980)
• Kerala, Off Kozhikode INDIA (Record: 31/01/1981)
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA (Record: 26/11/1981)
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA (Record: 8/12/1981)
• Tamil Nadu, Porto Novo INDIA (Record: 25/03/1982)
• Tamil Nadu, Krusadai Island INDIA (Record: 7/12/1982)
• Kerala, Kochi INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Krusadai Island INDIA (Record: 15/12/1982)
• Tamil Nadu, Krusadai Island INDIA (Record: 07/1983 - 00/12/1986)
• Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh, Kakinada INDIA (Record: 28/04/1993)
• Kerala, Off Kozhikode Coast INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA (Record: 9/1/1995)
• West Bengal INDIA (Record: 11/11/1995)
• Andhra Pradesh, Off Kakinada INDIA (Record: 7/7/1997)
• Bay of Bengal INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA (Record: 2003)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Sathasivam K (2004) Marine mammals of India Universities Press(India) private limited, Hyderabad, India 180 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • Borkar, M (2005) Marine mammals, turtles and crocodiles: A field manual NIO, Goa 63 pp Available at - NIO
  • Karuppiah, S; Subramanian, A and Obbard, JP (2005) Organochlorine residues in odontocete species from the southeast coast of India Chemosphere Elsevier 66(7) 891-897 Available at - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.01.013
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at - http://tnenvis.nic.in
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at - http://tnenvis.nic.in/PDF/coastal%20data.pdf
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at - http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/stdy_coral.pdf
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at - eprints.cmfri.org.in/3975/1/Special_Publication_No_12_Revised.pdf
  • Padmanaban P and Dinesh K.P (2011) A checklist of Marine Mammals of India Marine Biology Reginal centre, Zoological Survey of India 4pp Available at - http://zsi.gov.in/checklist/Marine%20mammals%20of%20India.pdf
  • Singh H.S (2003) Sea mammals in marine protected area in the Gulf of Kachchh, Gujarat State, India Indian Journal of Marine Science 258-262pp Available at - http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/4279/1/IJMS%2032(3)%20258-262.pdf
  • Jefferson, TA; Leatherwood, S and Webber, MA (2006) Marine mammals of the world World biodiversity database Available at - http://nlbif.eti.uva.nl/bis/marine_mammals.php?menuentry=inleiding

Page last updated on:2012-11-07

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