Photo taken by Laaude
The Indo-Pacific is one of the most popular types of bottlenose dolphins in the world. They are approximately 8 ½ feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds. They are either dark gray or black in color. They underside of the belly is often a dark white or a lighter shade of gray.
They are long and sleek in their body design so they have a great freedom of movement. They have very long noses which is where they get their namesake from. Many people have found them to be the image they think of when dolphins are the topic.
You will find this type of bottlenose dolphin in many areas. They include India, the Red Sea, China, Australia, and Africa. The exact numbers of them remaining isn’t known but they don’t seem to be at risk of dropping too low. They do have a type of migration that they follow to get to warmer areas. They also seem to migrate to meet up with larger groups for mating purposes at certain times of the year.
You will most often see the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in small groups. They can have as few as 5 in them but 15 is more common. Other groups have close to 100 members in them though. They are very social with each other and with other species of dolphins they come into contact with. They hierarchy among these groups isn’t simple to understand though even through a great deal of observation.
Diet and Feeding
Both fish and squid make up the biggest part of the diet for these dolphins. They hunt at night time and have great techniques for getting large amounts of food to come to them. Then they work together to make a tight circle around it before consuming their prey. They will also consume crustaceans if necessary due to the fact that they eat large amounts of food daily.
This types of dolphin has two mating seasons – the spring and the summer. It is believed that in some areas where it is very warm they do mate all year long as long as there is enough food. It takes about 12 months for the offspring to be born after mating. The newborns can be close to 5 feet long and weigh about 50 pounds.
The mothers will feed the offspring milk for the first couple of years of life. The young stay with their mother longer than any other type of dolphin out there. Generally this time frame is close to five years. As a result the females will only mate every 4 to 6 years. This could one day be a problem if populations drop due to the slow reproduction rates. They have an extremely long life span in the wild of about 40 years.
While the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin isn’t at risk of being endangered, conservation efforts are there to help. These efforts are to promote safer habitats that are free from fishing nets and pollution.
The identification of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin has only occurred in the last decade. Before that they were lumped into one big category. This particular type of them are smaller and lesser known to have interactions with humans while in the wild. They seem to do the best among all types of dolphins though in captivity.
In the past more of them were held in captivity so that they could be observed. However, as researchers weren’t gaining any new information the process became less popular. It was expensive to care for them and not providing any real benefit.