Sotalia – Tucuxi & Guiana dolphin

Inhabits both freshwater and marine environments

This genus includes the Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis) and the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis), two closely related species of dolphins that grace the coastal and riverine environments of South America. These dolphins, with their medium size of approximately 1.2 to 2.2 meters (4 to 7.2 feet) in length, are notable for their friendly disposition and complex social structures, which have endeared them to both researchers and enthusiasts alike.

One of the most striking physical characteristics of the Sotalia dolphins is their elongated, slender beak, which differentiates them from many other dolphin species. This, combined with their gracefully curved dorsal fin, contributes to their distinctive silhouette. The coloration of these dolphins can vary significantly, typically featuring shades of light gray or bluish tones, with some individuals exhibiting more mottled patterns. This variability in appearance reflects their diverse habitats, ranging from the murky waters of rivers and estuaries to the clearer coastal zones.

Their diet is predominantly composed of fish and squid, illustrating their role as adept predators within their aquatic ecosystems. Their hunting strategy often involves cooperating with their groups or pods to corral and capture prey. This social hunting behavior highlights their intelligence and underscores the importance of their social bonds.

Sotalia dolphins are known for their tight-knit social groups, which can include individuals of varying ages, from calves to adults. These groups are not merely aggregations for feeding purposes but are complex social units where individuals engage in a variety of interactions, including play, mutual grooming, and protection of the young. Communication among Sotalia dolphins is facilitated by a rich repertoire of sounds, including whistles, clicks, and pulsed calls. These vocalizations serve multiple purposes, from navigating their environment through echolocation to maintaining social cohesion within the pod.