PORT STEPHENS DOLPHINS

Around 90 to 120 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins live permanently in the waters of Port Stephens within the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park. The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) is a species of bottlenose dolphin growing to 2.6 metres long and weighing up to 230 kilograms.

Around 90 to 120 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins live permanently in the waters of Port Stephens within the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park. The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) is a species of bottlenose dolphin growing to 2.6 metres long and weighing up to 230 kilograms.

 

Until 1998, all bottlenose dolphins were considered members of the single species but, in that year, the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin was recognised as a separate species. Its back is dark grey and its belly is lighter grey or nearly white with grey spots on its belly and lower sides. It is generally smaller and has a more streamlined, slender frame than the common bottlenose dolphin, has a proportionately longer beak (or rostrum), and a more distinctive dorsal fin. It also has more teeth than the common bottlenose dolphin — 23 to 29 teeth on each side of each jaw compared to 21 to 24 for the common bottlenose dolphin.

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins have a taste for milder climes and are only found in the tropical waters of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. Unlike most common bottlenose dolphin, these dolphins prefer shallow, coastal waters and it’s not unusual to see them in and around estuaries. They are highly social creatures and females have large networks of female friends, whilst males form such strong bonds with one another that “alliances” can last a lifetime. Sometimes numbering in their dozens, most groups of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins include 5-15 individuals and juveniles spend several years with their family learning everything from social etiquette to vital hunting skills. Young dolphins have much to learn and threats follow them into adult life, including predatory sharks and human activity such as boat traffic and pollution.

 

Adapting to various conditions, from busy ports to sea grass bays to coral reefs, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins enjoy a varied diet. Their regular diet includes squid, octopus and many different species of fish.

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The Tomaree Museum Association Incorporated aims to develop a  regional museum and interpretative centre to document, protect and promote the history and changing natural environment of Port Stephens.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF TRADITIONAL CUSTODIANS

The Tomaree Museum Association acknowledges the Worimi people, the traditional owners and custodians of the land and waters upon which Tomaree Museum stands. We should like to pay our respect to the Elders past and present, and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website contains a range of material which may be culturally sensitive including records of people who may have passed away.

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