delfin

Dolphin

We explain everything about dolphins, where they live, what they eat and how they reproduce. Also, what types of dolphins exist.

Dolphin
The dolphin is one of the most intelligent animals on the planet.

What are dolphins?

The Dolphins are cetacean mammals of aquatic life, inhabitants of seas and rivers Depending on the species, they are among the most intelligent animal species on the planet.

In general, when we think of dolphins, we refer to the 37 species that make up the oceanic variant (of the Delphinidae family), which inhabit the sea surface and maintain frequent and friendly relationships with humans, even though they are often accidental victims of their commercial and fishing activities.

Dolphins are, from a zoological point of view, little more than toothed whales, that is, marine mammals that returned from the mainland to marine life, sometime in the Miocene, 23 million years ago, when they presented the necessary evolutionary adaptations for it. It is thought that the common ancestor between dolphins and land animals was a species of artiodactyls, that is, prehistoric hippopotamuses. In most cultures, dolphins are considered friendly and intelligent.

They are sociable animals, perfectly trainable, which today are a regular part of shows and water parks. Their presence in ancient mythological stories is common in maritime cultures, such as the Greeks, in which they were said to have been pirates, transformed into fish by the god Dionysus after they tried to sell him as a slave.

In his representations of Poseidon, god of the seas, he is often surrounded by seahorses and dolphins. See also: Animals of the sea

Dolphin Characteristics

dolphins characteristics
Dolphins can form groups of up to 1,000 individuals.

Broadly speaking, dolphins are characterized by the following:

  • They are mammals of aquatic life, that is, they have a body adapted to water (with fins instead of legs), but at the same time, they breathe air and have warm blood. They are not fish.
  • They have a torpedo-shaped body. ideal for swimming at high speeds, which begins with a thin and toothed snout, and ends with a powerful tail that has a caudal fin, with which it propels itself.
  • His skin is grey-blue, darker on the back and lighter on the belly, free of any form of fur. Different species may have characteristic spots and color lines.
  • They have a large brain with a highly developed cerebral cortex, compared to the average mammal, which allows complex social interaction: play, communicate, teach their young, cooperate, plan and suffer.
  • Given that can establish strong social bonds they can be found in large groups of up to 1000 individuals, in which the sick are cared for and cared for.
  • They manage a complex echolocation system, emitting sounds in a burst to perceive the echoes that are returned, like a radar. In this way, they can perceive potential prey and monitor the environment around them. To do this they have an organ called “melon” on their heads.
  • The Dolphins are capable of vocalizing a very wide range of sounds such as hissing and clicking.

Where do the dolphins live?

dolphin where do they live
Dolphins prefer the warm waters of the tropics.

Dolphins commonly inhabit the surface regions of seas, rivers, and lakes, depending on the family and the species. They make their entire life in the water, without the need to enter the mainland, and always prefer the warm waters of the tropics and surrounding regions.

What do dolphins eat?

dolphin feeding
Dolphins are intelligent hunters who isolate their prey from the school.

The Dolphins are carnivorous, and their diet consists of small fish and squid. They are intelligent hunters, who have very varied strategies to isolate their prey from the school or to set up ambushes.

How do dolphins reproduce?

As with mammals in general, the reproduction of dolphins is sexual and viviparous, with internal fertilization of the female by the male. Coitus occurs from the front, lasts a short time, and is repeated several times, after a courtship in which the male reproduces striking sounds for the female, swimming around her.

Dolphin gestation lasts about a year. Although in some species it can last a year and a half, and in the end, there is only one offspring per birth.

How long do dolphins live?

The life expectancy of dolphins can be around 20 and 30 years, and spread further under ideal captive conditions. In the wild, this species does not have large predators or threats.

However yes are threatened by humans, due to environmental contamination by pesticides, heavy metals, and plastics, or accidental fishing during schools of commercial fish (such as tuna).

There are also some countries where the dolphin is part of traditional cuisine, such as Japan and the Faroe Islands.

Types of dolphins

dolphin types
Oceanic dolphins interact with humans.

There are two “types” of dolphins, with different habitats and different characteristics, since they are two different superfamilies, each one encompassing a different set of species:

  • oceanic dolphins or dolphins typical sea dolphins are inhabitants of the coasts that interact a lot with human beings, like the common dolphin in the movies.
  • River dolphins or platanistoidea‍ inhabitants of estuaries and rivers, with long trunks (almost 60 cm) and smaller body sizes, such as the Amazon dolphin or dolphin.

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