The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), or Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, is the most well-known species from the family Delphinidae. The common bottlenose dolphin is the largest species of the beaked dolphins. They inhabit temperate and tropical oceans throughout the world, and are absent only from polar waters. Until recently, all bottlenose dolphins were considered as a single species, but now the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin and Burrunan dolphin have been split from the common bottlenose dolphin. As considerable genetic variation has been described among members of this species, even between neighbouring populations, many experts consider that additional species may be recognized.
The common bottlenose dolphin is grey in color and may be between 2 and 4 m long, and weighs between 150 and 650 kg. Males are generally larger and heavier than females. 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. 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, which they do not chew, 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.
The deepest dive ever recorded for a bottlenose dolphin was 300 meters. This was accomplished by Tuffy, a dolphin trained by the US Navy. Nellie, the longest-lived Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in human care, died at age 61 on April 30, 2014. Nellie was born on Feb, 27, 1953 at Marineland.