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Bottlenose Dolphin - Tursiops truncatus
Photo by SWFSC

Made famous worldwide as Flipper of television fame, the bottlenose dolphin grows to an average length of 6-13 feet and weighs between 350-450 pounds. It has medium gray coloration on its back, and lighter gray to white on its underside. It has a well defined rostrum, or "beak." The bottlenose dolphin has a complex repertoire of vocalizations for communicating. It is a very social and acrobatic species, and may be seen jumping and leaping during play or mating.

Bottlenose Dolphin
(Tursiops truncatus)

Temperate and tropical waters worldwide

Warm, shallow, coastal waters

Fish, squid, shrimp


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

Quick Fact
During the 1982-83 El Nino the bottlenose dolphin expanded its range several hundred miles north to the Gulf of the Farallones. When the ocean off northern California resumed its usual colder temperatures, the bottlenose dolphins remained.

Learn More
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
- Museum of Texas Tech University