What Do Bottlenose Dolphins Eat? – Bottlenose Dolphin Diet

Bottlenose dolphins are carnivores and they tend to eat a wide variety of prey. But they usually live off benthic (bottom-dwelling) fish. Apart from schooling fishes, dolphins also feed on a wide range of other prey species like squids, eels, shrimps and other crustaceans and invertebrates (including cephalopods).

What Do Common Bottlenose Dolphins Eat

Basically, bottlenose dolphins are generalists and they eat a wide range of prey that are endemic to their natural surroundings. Bottlenose dolphins inhabiting offshore waters eat pelagic invertebrates and fish while those living inshore feed on benthic fish.

There are about 18 to 28 cone-like teeth on either side of each jaw of a bottlenose dolphin. However, these teeth do not serve the usual purpose of chewing the food but only to grab the prey. The dolphins swallow the prey whole with headfirst.

What Kind of Fish Do Bottlenose Dolphins Eat?

Because fish forms the main component of the bottlenose dolphin diet, these marine mammals normally prefer fishes from the families Scombridae (family of fish containing 15 species including bonitos, tunas and mackerels), grey mullets or Mugilidae (family of ray-finned fishes containing 78 species) and croakers or Sciaenidae (family containing 275 species including weakfish).

What Do Bottlenose Dolphins Eat? – Video

References:

“Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)”. NOAA FISHERIES

“Bottlenose Dolphin”. SEAWORLD PARKS AND ENTERTAINMENT

“Bottlenose Dolphin”. Kids Do Ecology

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