|Common Bottlenose Dolphin|
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The common bottlenose dolphin is grey in color and may be between 2 and 4 m (6.6 and 13.1 ft) long, and weighs between 150 and 650 kg (330 and 1,430 lb). Males are generally larger and heavier than females. In most parts of the world, the adult's length is between 2.5 and 3.5 m (8.2 and 11.5 ft) with weight ranging between 200 and 500 kg (440 and 1,100 lb). Newborn calves are between 0.8 and 1.4 m (2 ft 7 in and 4 ft 7 in) long and weigh between 15 and 30 kg (33 and 66 lb). They can live as long as 40–50 years. Sexual maturity varies by population, and ranges from 5–14 years of age. Dolphins have a short and well-defined snout that looks like an old-fashioned gin bottle, which is the source for their common name. Like all whales and dolphins, though, the snout is not a functional nose; the nose has instead evolved into the blowhole on the top of their heads. Their necks are more flexible than other dolphins' due to five of their seven vertebrae not being fused together as is seen in other dolphin species.
Common bottlenose dolphins live in groups called pods that typically number about 15 individuals, but group size varies from pairs of dolphins to over 100 or even occasionally over 1000 animals for short periods of time. Their diets consist mainly of eels, squid, shrimp and wide variety of fishes. They do not chew their food, instead swallowing it whole. Dolphin groups often work as a team to harvest schools of fish, though they also hunt individually. Dolphins search for prey primarily using echolocation, which is a form of sonar. They emit clicking sounds and listen for the return echoes to determine the location and shape of nearby items, including potential prey. Dolphins also use sound for communication, including squeaks emitted from the blowhole, whistles emitted from nasal sacs below the blowhole, and sounds emitted through body language, such as leaping from the water and slapping their tails on the water. Their heads contain an oily substance that both acts as an acoustic lens and protects the brain case.
A common bottlenose dolphin's diet usually consists of a wide variety of foods including fish, squid and crustaceans. An adult dolphin may eat 15 - 30 pounds (6.8 - 13.5 kg) of food each day.
Common bottlenose dolphins can live at least 40 years, with some females outliving males at 60 years or more. They generally begin to reproduce when they are between 5 and 15 years old, with the exact age varying by population. Female bottlenose dolphins can reach sexual maturity before males.