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There are more species of dolphins than in any other cetacean group (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). This incredibly diverse group of animals, from coastal to oceanic to river species, span the globe in their distribution. With their streamlined, hydrodynamic bodies, and their ability to “see” their environment using echolocation these animals are perfectly suited for their aquatic world.
Unfortunately, dolphins are increasingly under pressure from threats such as habitat degradation, pollution, incidental capture in fisheries, climate change, commercial harvest, and depletion of prey species. For more about the threats that dolphins face click here.
Did You Know?
Dolphins use echolocation to navigate and locate prey. Sounds are produced and emitted from an area of the head and are reflected off an object. The sound echo is then received by the dolphin giving it a ‘picture’ of it’s prey or surroundings.The 5 species of ‘River Dolphins’ have evolved to live in muddy, murky waters of rivers and estuaries and hence have poorly developed eyesight. These species rely on echolocation to ‘see’ their environment.Dolphins are highly intelligent, social animals living in groups called pods. The strongest bonds are between females and their offspring.All dolphin species exhibit countershading – meaning the ventral surface of their body, or belly is lighter than the dorsal (back) surface, which allows them to blend into their marine environment making them less visible to predators.There are 33-35 recognized species of dolphins and they are highly variable in size and coloration – with various markings, blazes, capes, spots, and color patterns in shades of grey, white, pink, and black.Dolphins and their closest relatives, porpoises, have some different physical characteristics that set them apart. Dolphins have conical teeth, while porpoise have spade-shaped teeth. Dolphins are also generally larger in size and have longer snouts.
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