Tursiops – Bottlenose dolphin

Look for their most recognizable feature – a permanent grin formed by the curve of their mouth

Adorned in a sleek, two-toned coat of grey, the bottlenose dolphin is a master of the ocean. Its back fades from a dark, smoky shade to a lighter grey on its belly, a trick called countershading that helps it blend into the sun-dappled water. This isn’t your average fish – bottlenose dolphins are actually intelligent mammals with brains bigger in proportion to their body size than most other creatures on Earth.

Bottlenose dolphins are incredibly social. They form tight-knit groups called pods, which can range from a handful of individuals to over a hundred! Within these pods, there’s a strong sense of community. They communicate through clicks, whistles, and squeaks, creating a complex language. Imagine gossiping with your friends underwater using just clicks and whistles – that’s how sophisticated these underwater chatterboxes are.

Life for a bottlenose dolphin is all about hunting and playing. They’re expert swimmers, using their powerful tails to propel themselves through the water at surprising speeds. They work together to herd fish into tight groups, then take turns darting in to snatch a meal. But they’re not all work and no play. Bottlenose dolphins are known for their acrobatic leaps, often jumping completely out of the water in graceful twists and turns. They love to ride the waves created by boats and even chase bubbles for fun. Calves, especially, are bundles of energy, constantly swimming circles around their mothers and playfully nipping at each other’s fins.