Bottlenose dolphin

Probably the best known dolphin is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

It can grow to almost 4 m long and weigh 500 kg. Its back is light gray to dark gray in color, the belly is white. The fin is sickle-shaped. The beak is short and strong. Characteristic is the upward running mouth gap, which gives the impression of a smile. Bottlenose dolphins occur in tropical and temperate waters, are found both in the high seas and on coasts. They live in small groups of up to 20 animals, but can also be found alone. In coastal areas, populations are usually dispersed.

Groups consist of several females with their young and a few males. Young males often join together in bachelor groups and move around together for years.

In addition to body language, bottlenose dolphins communicate with each other using a variety of whistling and clicking sounds. Each animal also has a very characteristic, individual whistle as a recognition tone.

The bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus feeds on various species of fish and squid and has developed different hunting techniques and tool use depending on habitat. Echolocation can be used to locate food, investigate objects, and in poor visibility conditions. This involves emitting high-frequency clicking sounds that reflect off objects, so an auditory image of the environment can be created.


Although the globally distributed bottlenose dolphin is one of the non-endangered dolphin species, local coastal populations in many countries are threatened to varying degrees. In most cases, the danger comes from the fishing industry, with hundreds of animals becoming entangled in nets with deadly consequences.

YAQU PACHA is working with researchers from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande FURG to protect endangered Lahille's bottlenose dolphins in Lagoa dos Patos, Brazil.

Project bottlenose dolphin | Team Latin America | Project Amazon d olphin | Videos | Chilean d olphin | Project La Plata d olphin | 30 years YAQU PACHA e.V. | Summary of a successful workshop | Species protection | Species YAQU PACHA is working on | Sotalia dolphin