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153. Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)


A small group of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops sp.?) visits a shallow wreck in the coastal waters of Mauritius.

Until 1998, all bottlenose dolphins were considered to be a single species, namely Tursiops truncatus. Further research has established that there are a few other species of Bottlenose Dolphins that exhibit small anatomical differences.

The species now recognised are:

The Common Bottlenose Dolphin or Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), which has a global distribution.

The Lahille’s Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus) occurs on the Atlantic coast of South America and is believed to consist of two different subspecies.

The Eastern Tropical Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus nuuanu) inhabits the Pacific coast of Central America and the Galapagos Islands.

The Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus ponticus) is an endemic species of the Black Sea.

And the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) which range from Africa’s eastern coast to the northern areas of Australia, including the Red Sea, the archipelagos of Indonesia and the Philippines, and the South China Sea.

We are not sure if the individuals are Common Bottlenose Dolphins, also known as Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), or Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). Although both species have distinctive morphological characteristics, it is impossible to tell exactly which species occurs in this underwater video footage. The most noticeable difference is the spots and speckles on the dolphin’s belly, which occur nearly only on the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin. Unfortunately, the water conditions at the moment these dolphins were filmed were so poor that it is impossible to notice if there are any flecks or small spots on the dolphin’s belly and therefore impossible to make a positive identification of the dolphins in this short underwater videoclip.

The little wreck of the Tug 2 is often visited by larger marine wildlife. Big Pink Whiprays (Pateobatis fai, previously known as Himantura fai) are quite common on this site. On a particular dive, we even encountered a pair of Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) that used the small wreck, which is a real magnet for smaller fish, as their hunting ground. Unfortunately, the little wreck lies so close to the coastal cliffs of the Bambous area in Mauritius, where the runoff of muddy water after heavy rainfall usually spoils the quality of the water conditions, in particular the visibility. Nevertheless, the Tug 2 will always be one of my favourite dive sites in Mauritius.


Due to the sudden appearance of this little group, probably a family, in front of my camera, I was unable to set up my camera and video lights correctly to illuminate these rather big marine mammals. On this dive, the waters were quite murky (coastal waters often are after big rainfalls), and so the amount of natural light present was somewhat limited due to the large amount of suspended particles in the water.

The grain and texture of the footage were also very noisy, a result of a higher ISO to compensate for the lower light conditions on the dive site. In post-production, I applied noise-removing software, boosted the contrast, and added a lens flare to end up with a satisfying result considering the circumstances of the video recording.

More about this subject:

To find out more about the Long-Snouted Spinner Dolphins, an other dolphin species that occurs in Mauritian waters please visit our vlog post 56 or click the following link https://www.beyondscuba.com/post/long-snouted-spinner-dolphins

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