State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821)

Vernacular Name
Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Bottlenosed Dolphin
Conservation status
IUCN: LC; Be (II); Bo (II); CITES (II); RDBBS: DD; RDBUkr: Рідкісні
Value of species
All bottlenose dolphins around the world were previously recognized as T. truncatus, but recently the genus has been split into two species: T. truncatus and T. aduncus (the smaller Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin – Wang et al. 1999, 2000a,b). However, the taxonomy of bottlenose dolphins is confused, due to geographical variation, and it is very possible that additional species will be recognized in the future. For example, two forms in the North Atlantic, an offshore and a coastal form, are distinguishable on the basis of morphology and ecological markers (e.g., Mead and Potter 1995), have fixed genetic differences and, therefore, eventually may be assigned to different species (Leduc and Curry 1997, Hoelzel et al. 1998, Reeves et al. 2003). Bottlenose dolphins in the Black Sea are recognized as a subspecies possessing morphological differences from Atlantic and Pacific dolphins (Barabasch-Nikiforov 1960, Geptner et al. 1976). The Black Sea subpopulation is also differentiated genetically from other bottlenose dolphins in the eastern and western Mediterranean and the northeastern Atlantic (Natoli et al. 2005), and the available evidence (Birkun 2006) supports recognition of the subspecies T. t. ponticus. Common Bottlenose Dolphins are distributed worldwide through tropical and temperate inshore, coastal, shelf, and oceanic waters (Leatherwood and Reeves 1990, Wells and Scott 1999, Reynolds et al. 2000). Bottlenose Dolphins generally do not range pole-ward of 45°except in northern Europe (as far as the Faroe Islands 62°N 7°W - Bloch and Mikkelsen 2000) and to southern New Zealand. The species is rare in the Baltic Sea (it may best be considered extralimital there) and is vagrant to Newfoundland and Norway (Wells and Scott 1999). Common Bottlenose Dolphins tend to be primarily coastal, but they can also be found in pelagic waters (Wells and Scott 1999). Where distinct ecotypes are known, the inshore form frequents estuaries, bays, lagoons and other shallow coastal regions, occasionally ranging far up into rivers. The offshore form is apparently less restricted in range and movement. Some offshore dolphins are residents around oceanic islands. In many inshore areas Bottlenose Dolphins maintain definable, long-term multi-generational home ranges, but in some locations near the extremes of the species range they are migratory. Off the coasts of North America, they tend to inhabit waters with surface temperatures ranging from about 10°C to 32°C (Wells and Scott, 1999). Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins are common over the continental shelf; they sometimes occur far offshore (Birkun 2006). Bottlenose Dolphins are commonly associated with many other cetaceans, including both large whales and other dolphin species (Wells and Scott 1999). Mixed schools with Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins have been found, for instance off China and Taiwan (J. Wang pers. comm.). Bottlenose Dolphins consume a wide variety of prey species, mostly fish and squid (Barros and Odell 1990, Barros and Wells 1998, Blanco et al. 2001, Santos et al. 2001). They sometimes eat shrimps and other crustaceans.
Book reference
  • Котенко Т.И., Ардамацкая Т.Б., Дубина Д.В. и др. Биоразнообразие Джарылгача: современное состояние и пути сохранения // Вісник зоології. – 2000. – Спец. випуск. – 240 с.
  • Селюніна З.В. Зміни складу теріофауни регіону Чорноморського заповідника в результаті інвазії видів (історія вивчення ссавців та господарського освоєння) // Праці Теріологічної Школи. - 2014. - Т.12. - С.69-80.

Taxonomic branch