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A Glimpse into the World of Dolphins

March 21, 2023

A Glimpse into the World of Dolphins

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Carissa King-Nolan Carissa King-Nolan

On a beautiful summer day in June 2020 while working in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary (and near a large container ship heading into port), we came across a very large group of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Bottlenose dolphins are very social animals, and their complex social networks can be similar to those we have as humans. Just like how we can have separate social groups, like work and school friends, family, and acquaintances, bottlenose dolphins also form and frequently move between various social groups. Within the group we encountered, we made an adorable discovery – a newborn dolphin.

Newborn dolphins have several unique features, many of which can be seen in this photo. First, they have vertical white lines running along their body called fetal folds. These lines are remnants from when the baby was curled in its mother’s womb. Baby dolphins, also called calves, still have to learn how to surface smoothly to breathe, so they tend to bob up to the surface like a cork. That is why so much of this baby’s body is out of the water compared to its mom and the other adults in the group.

So many amazing dolphin and whale species use the waters just off the coast of New York and New Jersey. If you see any of these extraordinary animals while out on a boat, please remember to stay at least 100 yards (300 feet) away as these animals are federally protected.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate Women’s History Month, Wild View is featuring posts by and about women and their contributions to science and conservation throughout March.

Nikon D2700, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm lens

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