23.01.2020 – Blending in
Our morning out on the ocean was a little wet and wild but that didn’t stop both our crew and guests from having an amazing time! The biggest shoutout goes to our incredible spotter, Carlos, who managed to find a group of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) travelling with a handful of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) for us, despite the white caps sprinkled across the windy Atlantic.
Such conditions often force the enormous pilot whales to lunge out of the water to breathe properly, allowing us to admire so much more than just a dorsal fin cutting through the surface. Bottlenose dolphins also tend to lift their heads high above the surface to breathe properly but this behaviour is usually associated with the species’ notorious curiosity. Today, however, they only approached our Stenella after the pilot whale group had moved further east; in the presence of the pilot whales the Bottlenose are more preoccupied with blending into the pods of their larger taxonomic cousins.
As I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, Bottlenose dolphins are usually the ones initiating these incredible interactions and often mimic the behaviour or vocalisations of the species they are socialising with. During associations involving pilots, Bottlenose dolphins can be observed swimming lethargically at the surface and curling their flukes before disappearing for a shallow dive. This swimming behaviour is very similar to that of the pilot whales and may represent an effort on the side of the Bottlenose to “fit in” to the pods of pilot whales. This is just one of many observations that show us, time and time again, how adaptive, intelligent and wonderful cetaceans truly are.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales