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How Do Bottlenose Dolphins Get Their Food in West Maui, HA; Social Behaviors & More
The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) is one of the most beloved species of dolphin and is renowned for its playfulness and curiosity. A resident in the waters of Kaanapali Beach, Maui, it is not uncommon to see these beautiful and graceful creatures swim alongside our luxury Beach catamaran. The bottlenose dolphin has been popular throughout the course of human history including the Hawaiian Islands and has been featured in art, literature, and film to name a few. The bottlenose dolphins population found in Hawaiian waters are genetically different than those found throughout other parts of the world and are one of the most popular of all of the cetacean species.
Bottlenose Dolphin Identification
Adult bottlenose dolphins range in size from roughly seven to eleven in length and weigh in anywhere between 600 and 850 pounds. They can be recognized by their there medium grey colored backs, lighter grey sides and white or pale pink underbellies. The inshore population is typically lighter in color than those found further offshore. It is believed that several thousand bottlenose dolphins inhabit the waters around the Hawaiian Islands typically in pods that contain between 2 to 15 individuals. The majority of these groups are known to be permanent residents of particular coastlines and harbors throughout the island chains.
Dolphins Social Behavior
Adult bottlenose dolphins maintain dominance by biting, jaw clapping, smacking their tails on the water and chasing each other. They will also show aggression by scratching each other with their teeth which often results in surface wounds. Traces of these markings known as “rakes” can often be found on the skin of the dolphins to indicate previous interactions. During courtship and mating rituals, the dolphins will engage in head-butting and tooth-scratching. Bottlenose dolphins can often be found swimming with other species including pilot whales, spinner dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, and spotted dolphins. On occasion they can even be seen riding the pressure waves created by humpback whales.
How Do Bottlenose Dolphins Get Their Food?
Their diet is vast and includes the consumption of varies species of fish, cephalopods such as octopus and squid and crustaceans including crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Feeding habits vary between regions and the availability of food sources. Once they have located a food source the dolphins will catch and hold it tightly between their teeth before shaking it in the air and hitting the prey against the surface of the water or striking it with its large tail. Food is swallowed whole without chewing. On some occasions, dolphins will follow fishing boats consuming discarded fish and will even attempt to take fish trapped in fishing nets.
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