Q:

What is a bottlenose dolphins niche?

A:

Quick Answer

The ecological niche of the bottlenose dolphin is the role and position the species has in its environment. This includes how it meets its needs for food and shelter, how it survives, how it interacts with the biotic and abiotic factors of its environment.

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Full Answer

The habitat of bottlenose dolphins is the surface of temperate and tropical waters worldwide, from coastal waters to the open ocean. The bottlenose dolphin has two ecotypes, the coastal bottlenose dolphin and the offshore bottlenose dolphin. In general, the coastal ecotype is adapted for warm, shallow waters and has a smaller body and larger flippers. These dolphins often live in harbors, bays, lagoons and estuaries.

The offshore ecotype is adapted for cooler, deeper waters and seem to be better suited for deep diving. Its larger body helps conserve heat and defend itself against predators. Variations in water temperature, movements of food (mainly fish), and feeding habits may account for the seasonal movements of some dolphins to and from certain areas. Bottlenose dolphins may hunt in pods as small as 2 dolphins to pods as large as hundreds of dolphins. However, pods of 2 to 24 dolphins are most common.

Bottlenose dolphins eat a variety fish, squid and crustaceans. An adult dolphin may eat 15 to 30 pounds of food a day. Humans are the largest predators of bottlenose dolphin. Bottlenose dolphins reside at the near top of the food chain and are only eaten by some of the larger and more aggressive shark species, including great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks. Dolphins consider sharks a natural enemy and often attack sharks by ramming them in the gills. Bottlenose dolphins are also, though infrequently, eaten by orcas.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long do bottlenose dolphins live?

    A:

    Male bottlenose dolphins live an average of between 40 and 45 years, while females can live over 50 years. Females reproduce every 3 to 6 years after they reach sexual maturity between the ages of 5 and 10.

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  • Q:

    How do bottlenose dolphins reproduce?

    A:

    The bottlenose dolphin reproduces through sexual copulation. The gestation period is 12 months. While twins do occur in bottlenose dolphin births, single calves are the most common. A calf remains with its mother from 18 months to 8 years following its birth.

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  • Q:

    What do bottlenose dolphins eat?

    A:

    Bottlenose dolphins eat a variety of fish, squid and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. The type of food available to the dolphin is dependent upon its location, so some dolphins will eat more crustaceans, while others will eat more squid.

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  • Q:

    What is a dolphin's niche in its environment?

    A:

    A dolphin's nice in its environment depends on the species, but there are several identifying niche characteristics found in all dolphins, including the facts that dolphins are carnivorous, they have swimming rates that follow their eating patterns, they have smooth skin that allows them to move efficiently through the water and they sit near the top of the food chain. The dolphin species is typically prey to large whales, sharks and sometimes other dolphins.

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