Currently, mammals are present in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, in addition to bats with their ability to fly. From AnimalWised, we want to present you this time an article about a group of mammals that are exclusively adapted to the aquatic environment and that have developed great sociability with humans due to their intelligence: the Dolphins.
Although it seems obvious, all dolphins live in bodies of water, however, in the next few lines you will discover specifically in which regions and bodies of water we can find them. We invite you to continue reading and discover Where do the dolphins live.You may also be interested: Where do hippos live? Index
- Characteristics and classification of dolphins
- Where does the common dolphin live?
- Where do pink dolphins live?
- Where do orcas live?
- Where do other dolphins live?
- Dolphin conservation status
Characteristics and classification of dolphins
Cetaceans are an infraorder of mammals that are exclusively adapted to aquatic ecosystems and most live in marine waters, however, some species inhabit rivers and estuaries. This infraorder is divided into two groups, which are: the mysticetes (they have beards and feed by filtration) and the odontoceti (endowed with teeth). Within the latter, made up of a great variety of families, we find:
The aforementioned families bring together all species of dolphins, both salt and fresh water, which are distributed globally.
Dolphins have developed adaptations that facilitate their aquatic life. Among its main characteristics we have:
- Size: they measure between 1.3 and 9 meters in length, the latter range being reserved for orcas, specifically males.
- Weight: the smallest species of dolphins weigh about 25 kilos on average, while the largest ones exceed 5,000 kilos, the male killer whales being the typical example in this case.
- Body: their body is fusiform or similar to a torpedo, which greatly facilitates swimming and therefore they have great dexterity to execute it.
- Snout: almost all, with the exception of the killer whale, have an extension of the mouth forming a kind of beak or rather elongated snout.
- Fins: the forelimbs are flattened in the form of pectoral fins. In addition, they have a fairly muscular tail or rear fin that helps propulsion and a dorsal that gives them stability while swimming. However, there are two species of dolphins of the genus Lissodelphis that lack a dorsal fin..
- Lungs: Like all mammals, dolphins breathe through their lungs and must do so on the surface of the water. This process of gas exchange with the outside is done through a hole located in their heads called a blowhole..
- Echolocation: a peculiar feature is the presence of an organ located in the head called melon, which they use for echolocation, a process through which they locate their prey and know the surrounding environment from the echo that is produced by the emission of sounds individuals. They also emit other sounds, establishing a complex communication system in social relationships that usually constitute.
- FeedingNewborns feed on breast milk, a distinctive feature of mammals, but as they grow they include fish and squid in their diet. However, animals such as killer whales consume large fish, such as sharks, other cetaceans, seals, and sea lions..
Where does the common dolphin live?
Within the category of "common dolphin ", we find the coastal common dolphin and the oceanic common dolphin. Let's see the habitat of these dolphins
Coastal common dolphin
The coastal common dolphin (Delphinus capensis) is present in shallow waters (less than 180 meters) but warm of the three main oceans, usually within a few kilometers of the coasts. Thus, it has a wide distribution range, consisting of:
- The Pacific area corresponding to the United States, Mexico, Peru and Chile.
- Also in the Atlantic, from Venezuela to northern Argentina, northwestern and southern coasts of Africa.
- In the indian ocean.
- In the arabian sea.
- In India.
- In China.
- In Japan.
Oceanic common dolphin
On the other hand, the common oceanic dolphin (Delphinus delphis) has its habitat in tropical or temperate waters and it can make a presence near the coasts or be thousands of kilometers away from them. It is distributed:
- From the United States to Chile.
- The Mexican Atlantic.
- Most of Europe and Africa area.
- Much of the eastern Pacific.
They seem to have a preference for water with the presence of steep reliefs on the seabed.
Where do pink dolphins live?
There are also several species of dolphins that inhabit large bodies of fresh water, like rivers, These are the platanistoids (Platanistidae and Iniidae), such as the pink dolphin or Amazon dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), which is found in three of the main hydrographic basins in South America, such as:
- Madeira River of Bolivia.
- Orinoco River of Venezuela.
Unfortunately, the pink dolphin is in danger of extinction mainly due to illegal and indiscriminate hunting, the destruction of its habitat and the pollution of the waters in which it lives.
Where do orcas live?
Although we have commonly considered orcas as whales, they are found within the Delphinidae family, just like oceanic dolphins. In this sense, this animal is not really a whale, because the latter are taxonomically grouped into the mysticetes (baleen whales) that lack teeth, and orcas, like the rest of dolphins have teeth, so orcas would really be great dolphins, in fact, the largest in the oceans.
However, ¿where do orcas live? Orcas occupy all the oceans of the planet and a great variety of seas, being able to be present in coastal waters to about 800 kilometers approximately. Sometimes they reach shallow areas, including estuaries and river mouths. Thus, they are located in:
- Coasts of Canada.
- Caribbean Sea.
- Land of Fire.
- South Africa.
- New Zealand.
Where do other dolphins live?
As we can see, dolphins inhabit practically all the world's oceans and large rivers or bodies of water. They have a wide range of distribution in terms of the surface and depth of the water, however, the particular habitat it will depend on the species of dolphin. Let's learn about other concrete examples of the regions where certain groups are located.
- Dolphin Hector: Dolphins of the genus Cephalorhynchus can be found in the seas of New Zealand, as is the case of Hector's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori).
- Haviside dolphin: Also within the genus Cephalorhynchus, there are dolphins that live in the coastal areas of Namibia, such as the Haviside dolphin (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii).
- Delfín del Plata: this dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) is the endemic species of the great estuary that forms the Rio de la Plata in Argentina, and is also located on the Atlantic coast, so that it can tolerate fresh and salt water ecosystems.
- Indus dolphin: Similarly, we can mention the Indus dolphin (Platanista minor), originally from Pakistan, having as its habitat the river of the region that bears the same name of the mammal.
- Chinese river dolphin or baiji: in China, we find the species Lipotes vexillifer, that inhabits the main river of this country such as Yangtze.
We can note that dolphins therefore have a wide range of distribution in the aquatic bodies of the planet, however, the presence of food is a vital aspect so that they remain present in any of the mentioned regions..
Dolphin conservation status
Dolphins, due to their social behavior and intelligence, have developed a close relationship with humans, since in general they are usually docile. However, they are a group that does not escape the harmful impacts caused by pollution of rivers and oceans, accidents with boats, as well as their capture to be used in various shows. Also in certain regions of Asia, some are included in the diet, so they are hunted. Similarly, fishing for various marine species through nets generates the accidental capture of these cetaceans, causing their death..
There are very few types of dolphins that have natural predators, their maximum risks are constituted by human actions, which has brought as a consequence that several of these species are found in one of the categories of animals in Danger of extinction.