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Wonderful World of Dolphins

Updated on August 24, 2015
dolphin header
dolphin header

According to The World Book Encyclopedia, “many scientists believe that dolphins rank among the most intelligent animals, along with chimpanzees and dogs.”This aquatic mammal has been able to fascinate us in a variety of ways. They are curious, form strong bonds within their pod, and they have been known to help humans in a variety of circumstances like rescues and with fishing.Dolphins play together and have even protected other animals or swimmers in distress.Dolphins are capable of imitation and memorization; they demonstrate foresight, learn from observation, communicate experience, solve complex problems, perform elaborate tasks, and learn multiple procedures simultaneously. Their so-called training is in fact a discipline structured around play, using their natural behavior as the basis for involved maneuvers; they appear to perform primarily for their own enjoyment.

Dolphin Species

The name dolphin comes from the word womb, and it is believed to be the Greek saying for fish with a womb.There are 42 species of dolphins found in the world.There are 38 marine dolphins, and 4 river dolphins. 4 find a home in New Zealand: the common dolphin, the bottle-nosed dolphin, the dusky dolphin, and the world’s smallest—the Hector’s dolphin.

  • Bottlenose Dolphins-are found in tropical oceans and Bottlenose dolphins are well known as the intelligent and charismatic stars of many aquarium shows. Their curved mouths give the appearance of a friendly, permanent smile, and they can be trained to perform complex tricks other warm waters around the globe.
  • Dusky Dolphins-is very closely related to the Pacific White Sided Dolphin. To identify it from other species out there, the head of it is evenly sloped. It also lacks a beak at the end of the snout. They feature a bluish black color on the tail and along the back. They also have a dark band that is featured from the flanks to the tail diagonally. The belly is white with a dark color for the lower jaw and snout. They have gray from the eye to the flipper and then two white or cream stripes that run between the dorsal fin to the tail.
  • Hector's Dolphin-One of the smallest marine dolphins in the world, Hector’s dolphins grow no more than 1.5 m in length.Only found in New Zealand’s waters, this distinctive grey dolphin with black and white markings and a round dorsal fin is the most easily recognised species of dolphin in New Zealand.
  • Common dolphin has a distinctive creamy yellow hourglass pattern along the sides, with a dark grey back, tail and flippers and a cream coloured belly. The beak is relatively long and slender. Adult common dolphins measure between 1.7 to 2.7 metres long and weigh about 150 kg. Lifespan is about 20 to 30 years. Worldwide, there are currently two species of common dolphins recognised by scientists – short-beaked (Delphinus delphis) and long-beaked (Delphinus capensis). Common dolphins seen in Hebridean waters are short-beaked common dolphins.

The Anatomy of A Dolphin

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10 Facts About Dolphins!

  1. Like bats, dolphins use echolocation to navigate and hunt, bouncing high-pitched sounds off of objects, and listening for the echoes.
  2. The Dolphin in the sea has a brain whose complexity the number of nerves cells compare with that of man and as many times superior to the brain of the higher apes.
  3. To prevent drowning while sleeping only half of the dolphin’s brain goes to sleep while the other half remains awake so they can continue to breathe!
  4. Dolphins are not fish but mammals. Hence, a baby dolphin feeds on milk that is produced in its mother’s body. Over the three-year period that the mother nurses it, she will teach her baby what it needs to know to survive.
  5. Dolphin sonar clicks are strikingly similar to a mathematical waveform called a Gabor function. This function, says Hughes, proves that dolphin clicks “approach a mathematically idealized sonar signal.”Dolphins can adjust the power of their sonar clicks from a mere whisper to a cracking 220 decibels. How powerful is that? Well, loud rock music can produce 120 decibels, and artillery fire 130 decibels. Armed with sonar that is much more powerful, dolphins can detect things as small as a three-inch [8 cm] ball 400 feet [120 m] away and possibly even farther in quiet waters.
  6. The bottle-nosed dolphin normally dives to depths of 150 feet [45 m], but the deepest recorded dive for a dolphin is 1,795 feet [547 m]! How does this mammal survive such a dive? Its heartbeat slows down during the dive, and blood is diverted to the heart, lungs, and brain. Also, its muscles contain a chemical that stores oxygen.
  7. Dolphins could swim at the speed of nearly 25 miles (40 km) an hour. Dolphins have a secret, part of which lies in their blubber, a complex substance also found under the skin of porpoises, whales, and other marine animals. “Blubber is a thick, dense layer of highly organized connective tissue with a lot of fat cells,” says New World Encyclopedia. It covers practically the whole creature, and it is “strongly attached to the musculature and skeleton by highly organized, fan-shaped networks of tendons and ligaments.” These networks, in turn, are composed of elastic fibers and collagen, a protein that is also found in skin and bones and it aids buoyancy and provides thermal insulation.
  8. The average lifespan of a dolphin ranges from about 17 years to about 25 years, with no significant difference between dolphins in the wild and in captivity. Females tend to live longer than males, and are the only dolphins known to stay alive more than 50 years.
  9. Dolphins eat a variety of different foods. Some of them eat fish, such as mackerel, herring and cod, while others eat squid. Large dolphins, such as Orcas may eat other marine mammals, such as sea lions or sea turtles.
  10. A group of dolphin is called a pod.A dolphin pod consists a group of dolphins that have bonded together either because of biological reasons such as a mother bearing offspring and raising her child or a species such as the killer whale that considers family an integral part of its life, or through friendships developed between two or more dolphins.

Additional Facts

  • Dolphins spend much of their day playing and socializing. One glides past, proudly displaying some seaweed on its dorsal fin.Seaweed is a favorite toy of dolphins. They will put it on a fin or snout and play with it for ages. When one is finished, another will pick it up and have a turn.
  • Dolphins communicate with one another using high-pitched whistles—transmitted at frequencies ten times higher and four and a half times faster than human speech. Rather than using a language as we know it, dolphins seem to create ‘sound pictures.’
  • A dolphin calf is born tailfirst, having been folded in half inside its mother. Vertical lines are visible on newborn calves, which show where they were folded in the womb. A baby will suckle on the run, all the while remaining close to its mother by taking advantage of the hydrodynamic effects of her swimming.

When you reflect on the amazing senses manifest in the living world, does it not fill you with awe and wonder? Humble, informed people usually feel that way—which brings us back to the question of how we are made. True, our senses often pale beside those of certain animals and insects. Nevertheless, we alone are moved by what we observe in nature. Truly,Our Creator is So amazing and Intelligent to create this wonderful Sea Creature!


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