IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Description

Bottlenose dolphins have widely spaced eyes, relatively long flippers, a rounded forehead (called a melon), a relatively short, broad snout, and a mouth that seems permanently twisted into a grin. Inside the mouth are as many as 100 teeth. Highly social, bottlenose dolphins often swim in groups of several hundred individuals, and are famous for racing alongside watercraft. Some stay in coastal waters and others swim offshore. In the Atlantic, the coastal dolphins feed mostly on sea trout, croakers, and spot. The offshore population follows the Gulf Stream and feeds on deep-water fish and squid. Three different populations have been identified in the North Pacific: a temperate-water group, a tropical-water group, and a coastal group.

Adaptation: Imagine the structural and functional changes involved in transforming the right forelimb of a general mammalian type, such this Hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus, into that of a cetaceans flipper, such as we find in the Bottle-nosed dolphin, Tursiops truncatus.

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Mammal Species of the World

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© Smithsonian Institution

Source: Smithsonian's North American Mammals

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