Dolphins are a kind of mammals that stay in the water. They can also be called aquatic that fall under the parvorder Odontoceti, which includes porpoises and toothed whales such as sperm whales. Dolphins are widespread, with 40 recorded species. Members have differentiated bodies with hind limbs that are modified into flippers for propulsion.
Members also have an exceptionally well-developed sense of hearing – enabling some species to survive even if they are blinded. As the Dolphins have a layer of fat underneath their skin, they do not feel cold during extreme temperatures. Dolphins are a kind of mammals that majorly feed on fish and therefore are also named as Piscivores beings. However, members that are largest such as the orcas, feed on other aquatic mammals such as seals.
Dolphins can be found in almost all sizes – The tiny Māui dolphin measures no more than 2 meters in length and weighs up to 50 kgs. The largest dolphin is the Orca, also known as the killer whale, and it measures over 30 feet in length and weighs a colossal 10,000 kilograms.
Dolphins can be found in the oceans all over the world but they prefer to stay in warmer tropical waters. Some members of dolphins are also found in rivers and brackish waters; the most well-known river dolphin is the Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica).
Another interesting aspect is that the dolphins consist of a special, fat-filled organ which is known as the “melon” which acts as an “acoustic lens”, aiding in sound recognition. This organ helps the animal to use echolocation – which effectively helps it to navigate and also hunt prey.
Scientific Names of Dolphin Species
Common bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops truncatus
Killer whale/orca – Orcinus orca
Amazon river dolphin – Inia geoffrensis
Long-finned pilot whale – Globicephala melas
False killer whale – Pseudorca crassidens
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin -Tursiops aduncus
Facts About Dolphins
Dolphins having small teeths can be easily recognizable because of their curved mouths, which give them a permanent “smile.” There are 36 dolphin species, found in every ocean
Dolphins feed majorly on fish and squid, which they track using echolocation. With this sonar sound waves are bounced off prey and helps in getting the information about the location, size and shape of the fish.
The gestation period of dolphins takes nine to 17 months, that too depending upon the size. Dolphins are surprisingly maternal after their birth as they observe nestling and cuddling their young ones for a long period of time.
As we know that dolphins are mammals, therefore need to come to the surface of the water to breathe. It is also a fact to know that dolphins have separate holes for each task as compared to land mammals that breathe and eat through their mouths. Blowholes that exist in the body of Dolphins help them to eat and breathe at the same time separately. Having a separate hole for each work prevents the dolphin from sucking up water into the lungs when hunting, reducing the risk of drowning.