Bottlenose Dolphin
Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821)

Morphology and dimensions: With powerful muscles it is a species where the male is slighter bigger of the female. The medium length in the adult exemplary is of approximately 3m, the average weight 320 Kg. The baby, at birth, measures approximately one meter. The head has a pronounced “melon” and rostrum short and squat.

Coloration: Grey with several tonalities and shadings: the grey of the back becomes more luminosity on the sides, the abdomen appears of white colour.

Swim and breathing rhythm: the Tursiope has a powerful swim and it is capable to catch up speeds that exceed 30 Km/h; it possesses remarkable acrobatic abilities and often goes nearby boats pushing itself in the bow wave. It can dive up to some hundred of meters remaining in apnea for a maximum of approximately 8 minutes.

Feeding: It eats mostly fish (anchovies, sardine, etc.), completing its diet with mussels cephalopods (squids, small cuttlefishes and octopuses) and, sometimes, crustaceans.

Social behaviour: It lives in small branches (of 5-10 individuals) characterised from strong social ties. There are groups composed only by females with the babies and other only by males which than join to the females in the reproduction period.

Vital cycle: The females reaches the sexual maturity around ten years old, males between ten and thirteen years. The coupling and the births happen generally in summer. After the gestation, of approximately twelve months, the babies remain with their mother for two years, until the term of the weaning. The tursiopi can reach the maximum age of approximately 40 years.

Identification in sea: Beacons of its presence are the appearance on water surface of the dorsal fin and the back, when the animal emerges to breathe, or sprays caused by its movement in the water (jumps and fast swim). The Tursiope it is a not frequently seen cetaceum in Liguria Sea, especially in the western portion; in fact, it turns out to be one of the species less sighted during the whale excursions watching.