Scientific Name: Tursiops truncatus;
Malti: id-delfin ta’ geddumu qasir
This species, probably the best known of all the dolphins is found throughout most seas and oceans. In the Mediterranean its distribution appears fragmented into small units in coastal and offshore waters.
In coastal areas, bottlenose dolphins normally live in small groups of about 7 individuals, however offshore pods may consist of hundreds of individuals (though commonly 15-25). They are playful and sociable animals, jumping and riding waves and interacting with humans, often following vessels. In the Mediterranean, they feed mainly on bottom feeding fish.
These animals range from 2.8m to 4m in size, with males being larger than females. They are generally grey in colour, darker on the dorsal side and with a lighter underside. The snout, normally short, is well-separated from the rest of the head; the feature gave it its common name.
Males generally reach sexual maturity at 11 years and females at 12, giving birth to a calf every two years (with a gestation period of 11-12 months). The calf is generally weaned for 12-18 months.
Bottlenose dolphins are protected by local and global legislation, and the Mediterranean population is reported as vulnerable due to impact with fishing gear and habitat loss (including overfishing of its prey species).