Common bottlenose dolphin

(Tursiops truncatus)

The common bottlenose dolphin is a large, robust dolphin. Off Fujairah individuals have been seen that exceed three metres in. The head and body forward of the dorsal fin is especially robust and the beak is relatively short and stubby, hence its common name. There is a clear crease that separates the beak from the bulbous forehead. The flippers are moderate in length and pointed at the tip and the flukes are deeply notched. Common bottlenose dolphins vary in colour, but are mostly dark charcoal, grey or brown with paler sides and even paler undersides.

Common bottlenose dolphins typically occur in groups of 30 or fewer individuals, though herds of several hundred are possible. They are the most commonly encountered species of cetacean off Fujairah and may associate with other species, such as Risso’s dolphins and sperm whales. Common bottlenose dolphins are fast, powerful swimmers, often riding the bow wave of boats. As their reputation in aquaria attests, they are inquisitive and capable of spectacular aerial acrobatics.

Bottlenose dolphins are among the most recognisable and widespread of cetaceans and yet their taxonomy is muddled. Two distinct species are recognised, namely the common bottlenose dolphin (T. truncatus) and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. aduncus). Both species occur in the Arabian region and their ranges overlap. The common bottlenose dolphin occurs throughout the region, with the possible exception of the Arabian Gulf, where only the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin is known. The possible presence of different forms of both species, notably offshore and nearshore forms, further complicates the taxonomy of this genus.

The species is considered by IUCN to be of least concern.