Pictures of dolphins - gray dolphin

Pictures of dolphins - gray dolphin 1
Pictures of dolphins - gray dolphin
The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is the most common and well-known dolphin species. It inhabits warm and temperate seas worldwide and may be found in all but the Arctic and the Antarctic Oceans.

Physical description

Bottlenose Dolphins are gray, varying from dark grey at the top near the dorsal fin to very light grey and almost white at the underside. The salt water makes them hard to see both from above and below when swimming. The elongated upper and lower jaws give the animals their name of bottlenose. The real nose however is the blowhole on top of the head, and the nasal septum is visible when the blowhole is open. Their face shows a characteristic "smile".

Pictures of dolphins - gray dolphin 2

Adults range in length from 6 to 13 feet (2 to 4m) and in weight from 330 to 1430 pounds (150 to 650kg) with males being slightly longer and considerably heavier than females on average. The size of the dolphin appears to vary considerably with habitat. Most research in this area has been restricted to the North Atlantic Ocean, where researchers have identified two ecotypes. Those dolphins in warmer, shallower waters tend to have a smaller body than their cousins in cooler pelagic waters. For example a survey of animals in the Moray Firth in Scotland (the world's northernmost resident population) researchers recorded an average adult length of just under 13 feet (4m). This compares with an 8 feet (2.5m) average in a population off Florida. Those in colder waters also have a fatter composition and blood more suited to deep diving.

The flukes (lobes of the tail) and dorsal fin are formed of dense connective tissue and don't contain bones or muscle. The animal propels forward by moving the flukes up and down. The pectoral flippers (at the sides of the body) serve for steering; they contain bones clearly homologous to the forelimbs of land mammals (from which dolphins and all other cetaceans evolved some 50 million years ago).
Pictures of dolphins - gray dolphin 3
Pictures of dolphins - gray dolphin

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