Dolphin Information

Here is some interesting dolphin information.

 This page is filled with information about dolphin anatomy, reproduction, food and habitat. You will also learn about their senses, communication, intelligence and about dolphins in captivity. If you want to learn more about a particular subject, just click on the link above the picture.
You can also scroll to the bottom of the page for links to a list of dolphin species, dolphin facts, dolphin resources and dolphin pictures.

The word "dolphin" refers to the kind of whales known as toothed whales.
Bottlenose Dolphins
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There are also different types of dolphins such as oceanic dolphins, coastal dolphins, river dolphins and dolphins that bear the word "whale" in their common name despite the fact that taxonomically they belong to the group of dolphins such as "Killer Whales".

Dolphin Anatomy
Dolphin Friendship
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  • Because dolphins are also whales, their anatomy incudes all of the above.
  • But because they use echolocation much more than large whales (if the large whales use any), dolphins have a well developed melon inside their forehead. It sits in front of their brain, just above the beak. This melon produses the clicking sound which dolphins use in their echiolocation.

More about Dolphin Anatomy

Dolphin Reproduction
Bottlenose Dolphins Adult and Young, Honduras
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  • Dolphins, on the other hand, are much smaller animals, live in pods where it's easy to find a mate, and generally travel much shorter distances so that even different pods can meet easier.
  • They don't therefore migrate long distances as do baleen whales. (Dolphins do move nomadically but they don't migrate by definition).

More about Dolphin Reproduction

Dolphin Food
Bottle-Nosed Dolphin, Feeding on Fish, UK
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  • Dolphins and other toothed whales are active hunters and  prey mostly on fish, squid, crabs, mollusks, and shellfish.
  • Killer whales have more teeth than average dolphins and they take very large prey, such as seals and sea lions, penguins and sometimes they even attack large sharks!
  •   Toothed whales use their teeth to catch their prey, not to chew it.
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Where do Dolphins Live?

Common Dolphin Swimming, California
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  • The vast majority of dolphins live in salt water (marine habitat). Some species, and also some individuals within some species, have chosen coastal or river habitat.
  • The waters in the coastal habitat can be brackish (estuarine) around the river mouths where rivers bring fresh water into the ocean. The species that live in rivers, have adapted to freshwater habitat.

More about Dolphin Habitat

How Do Dolphins Sense the World?

Spotted Dolphins, Hawaii
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  • The eyes of dolphins are relatively well developed compared to other whales, but they still don't see as well as do land animals.
  • Because sounds travel much better in the water, dolphins and whales use hearing much more than eyesight.
  • Other senses they use are touching and taste, while their sense of smell is not very good - well, you cannot smell under water.

How Do Dolphins Communicate?

Pacific Spotted Dolphins, Hawaii
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  • Dolphins use sound for two different reasons - to "see" around (echolocation), and to communicate to each other. They have quite a complex collection of clicks and whistles, by which the "talk" to each other. There are different whistles such as contact calls, and signature whistles, which are used to identify each other.
  • In addition to sounds, they communicate by touching each other, and also by jumping out of the water (both visual body language and sounds of the splashes).
More about Dolphin Communication

Dolphin Intelligence

Dolphins, Sea World, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
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  • Dolphins are smart, curious and friendly animals.
  • Like many smaller whales also do, they approach boats and do some human-watching.
  • They can also get quite attached and build bonds with humans.
  • They have been known to help humans in shark attacks, and to push drowning humans to shallow waters.

More about Dolphin Intelligence

Dolphins in Captivity
 Man Riding Killer Whale 1975 Archival Photo Poster

  •   Dolphins are eager to learn tricks and play. Some do ok in captivity and enjoy human contact. However the subject is controversial as some species, particularly killer whales, don't do so well. I recommend watching the movie "Blackfish"
    which tells the story of the frustration of Killer Whales in captivity.
More on Dolphins in Captivity

Man Riding Killer...

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More dolphin information:

List of Dolphin Species

Dolphin and Whale Resources

Dolphin Pictures

Images of Killer Whales

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