Throughout the season we will present one cetacean per article, to learn more about these animals and how to observe them. These sheets are proposed by Serge Briez founder of the ‘’Les Peuples de la Mer’’ (translated in english : Peoples of the Sea), a citizen NGO which goal is the protection through knowledge of a Mediterranean maritime area: the Gulf of Lion.
For our first cetecean on our list, we chose to present the Bottlenose Dolphin.
Observation area in the Mediterranean Sea
The Bottlenose Dolphin is often observable in the Mediterranean in coastal areas but can be observed in the high seas as well. The coasts of the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica and the Greek Islands its territory in Med has no limit.
In the south of the Gulf of Lion where it is very present, they can be observed in groups made up of complete families of 20 to 30 individuals.
3 facts about the Bottlenose Dolphin
1 – Being a top predator, Tursiops truncatus regulates lower trophic levels and helps to report on the health of an entire ecosystem. Besides its importance at the ecosystem level, the bottlenose dolphin is a species of interest at the community level.
2 – The females accompany their little ones to their full autonomy and ensure their learning. The groups are united and the social relationships are very important which translates into visible behaviors for the informed observer such as hunting, education, play, sexuality… Their gregarious way of life has many similarities with human families , this is certainly one of the reasons for their strong popularity. Despite everything, they are little known to the public and a long way remains to be done to reach their intelligence in life and be able to communicate with them as equals without making them a consumer product or a pet …
3 – They have a lifespan of around 40 years, they adapt quickly to changes despite the harshness of their marine environment: storms, cold, reduction in food resources, disease, the impact of human activities.
Observation and interaction tips
1 – Swimming with Bottlenose dolphins is not recommended. In the Gulf of Lion ,for example, it is even forbidden to approach within 100 m of them. Of course if they choose to come and swim towards the boat, which is common, or visit you while swimming in the sea, you can enjoy it while not exceeding 5 knots and maintaining a straight course without trying to reach them. When meeting while swimming, never try to touch them, their skin is extremely fragile.
2 – Do not try to feed them, they are great hunters and a good part of their time is devoted to hunting. An adult can consume ⅝ kg of mackerel per day.
3 – The best way to meet Bottlenose dolphins is not to look for them but to be there. The encounter is usually opportunistic: your paths cross, but these encounters can also be the subject of a different way of NAVIGATING TO OBSERVE and meeting all the species that inhabit our Big Blue.
Observing is learning and many associations offer eco-volunteers naturalistic observation embarkations where you will learn a lot about these MASTERS of the oceans, the Cetaceans.
In the meantime, we’ll meet you very soon for the next sheet produced in collaboration with The Peoples of the Sea, which will present the Rossi’s dolphin by its scientific name Grampus griseus! Find all the cetacean sheets of the Peoples of the Sea here!
See you soon for new discoveries on the marine fauna of the Mediterranean.
Fair Winds Captain,