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Common Dolphin image
Common Dolphin

Common Dolphin

(Mammal)

Common Dolphin Baby
Common Dolphin Baby

Common Dolphin Habits

The common dolphin is a friendly, sociable animal that lives in mixed groups of males, females, and young. The dolphin inhabits the warmer coastal waters of the world and is never seen as far north or south as the bottlenose dolphin.
Found in coastal waters of all the tropical and temperate seas, the common dolphin is abundant in the Mediterranean. It is migratory, following schools of fish, its staple food. The common dolphin was once hunted in large numbers in the Black Sea. Although this has stopped, an increasing number are becoming entangled in fishermans nets.

Common Dolphin Communication

While it is not known if dolphins have a formal language, they do communicate with a signature whistle to identify themselves.
Unlike humans, dolphins lack vocal cords, but they do use a complicated system of whistles, squeaks, moans, trills and clicks produced by sphincter muscles within the blow hole.
Using echolocation, or sonar, dolphins send out frequencies by clicking. The clicking sounds bounce off objects and the returning sound waves are picked up by the dolphin's bulbous forehead and lower jaw and interpreted as to distance, size and shape of object.
This sound system is particularly useful at night or in murky waters as it allows the dolphin to navigate even if visibility is poor.
Dolphins have produced sound frequencies from 0.25 to 200 kHz, using the higher frequencies for echolocation and the lower frequencies for communication and orientation.

Common Dolphin Breeding

The dolphin has a different mate every season. Mating takes place in the fall and a single calf is born 10 months later.
The calf emerges tail first, and, while the mother helps it to the surface to breath, several other females protect them from sharks that may be attracted by the blood lost in birth. The mother suckles her calf underwater, and feeding is quick and frequent so that the calf can surface and breath every few seconds. For the first two weeks of it's life, the young dolphin stays close to it's mother or other females. It can swim rapidly at birth, and soon begins to grow teeth which push through it's gums much like those of a human baby. Still the calf does not become independent for many months.

Common Dolphin Food & Feeding

The common dolphin eats herring, sardines, cuttlefish, octopus, and shrimp. Where herring and sardines are abundant, the dolphin is a common sight, but when the fish migrate or become depleted, the dolphin moves on to other feeding grounds in schools often numbering hundreds. Dolphins communicate with each other by using a language consisting of clicks and whistles. Communicating through sound is also important in helping dolphins to hunt. Dolphins will make a series of high pitched whistles that travel through the water. When the sounds reach a solid object, such as a school of fish, an echo is created by which the dolphin can identify the speed, size, and direction of the prey. This process is called echolocation.

Common Dolphin Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Length: 5-8 feet
              Weight: 160 pounds
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 5-6 years
             Mating: In north Atlantic, October to December. Most births occur from Sept. to Oct
             Gestation: 10 months
             Number of young: Single calf
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Lives in large schools
            Diet: Mainly herring and sardines, but also a wide range of fish
            Lifespan: Up to 25 years

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The killer whale, one of the common dolphins most feared predators, is itself a species of dolphin.
  • The common dolphin can stay submerged for only 3-4 minutes, while the bottlenose dolphin can remain under water for up to 15 minutes.
  • The dolphin has no sweat glands. It stays cool by releasing heat through its flippers.
  • Female dolphins are called cows, males are called bulls and young dolphins are called calves.
  • Some fishing methods, such as the use of nets, kill a large number of dolphins every year.

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