Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Bottlenose Dolphin

Tursiops truncatus


Fun Facts

    The bottlenose dolphin uses echolocation to find its prey.

    Bottlenose dolphins have cone-like pointed teeth.



  The bottlenose dolphin is a type of marine mammal that is found both offshore and in coastal waters. They occur in tropical and temperate oceans worldwide. The body is stout but streamlined, varying from dark grey at the top near the dorsal fin to very light grey and almost white on the underside. Bottlenose dolphins feed on small fish, crustaceans, and squid. They search for food using a form of sonar called echolocation. Rapid clicks are emitted through the fatty tissue in their forehead, called a melon. The clicks bounce off prey and reflect back to the animal. Their specialized lower jaw transmits the sound to their brain where an acoustic picture is created. Bottlenose dolphins live about 45 to 50 years. Female bottlenose dolphins mature at around 5 to 13 years of age and males mature at 9 to 14 years. Gestation is 12 months and births can occur at any time of year. More information on bottlenose dolphins can be found at the Aquarium in the Whales & Dolphins Room and in the courtyard.