02.05.2018 – Baby Bottlenose
On our morning tour we were able to encounter a small school of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) close to the coast near Madalena do Mar and accompanied this group further east till we reached Ribeira Brava. The herd consisted of mothers with calves, some of which were quite tiny. This also explained the evasive behavior on the part of the animals at the beginning of the sighting. Unlike Sperm whales and Pilot whales, dolphins do not display sex dimorphism; that is characteristic differences in male and female phenotype. One can only determine the sex using clues; for example the presence of calves in a small compact group may indicate that this group is female.
Bottlenose calves enjoy the company of their mother for an average of three years, until a new sibling is born. If the mother doesn’t have any other calves, the young cetacean may remain with its mother for up to 8 years. Once they leave their mothers side, the young animals begin to establish friendships with other peers and form small sub-groups with them.
During our afternoon tour we were able to encounter Bottlenose dolphins again, this time further east almost near Cabo Girao and had a short sighting of a young Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins
14:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Loggerhead turtle