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Bottlenose dolphin  - Tursiops truncatus
Photo by Howard Hall

One of the most recognized species, the bottlenose dolphin is known to frequently bow-ride, lob-tail, surf and breach, sometimes leaping several meters high. Being curious by nature, individuals in the wild sometimes interact with swimmers, surfers and small boats. This species can grow to about 3 meters (12 ft) long, and is colored in shades of gray. The dorsal fin has a prominent curve, and the forehead is somewhat rounded with a fairly short rostrum.

Bottlenose dolphin
(Tursiops truncatus)

Coastal form along shores of California to Baja, and off Central America. Offshore form widely distributed in southern temperate and tropical waters

Inshore and offshore

Fish, squid and shrimp


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
The bottlenose dolphin has been the subject of extensive research including, intellegence and communication abilities.

Learn More
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
- International Dolphin Trust