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Bottlenose Dolphin Playing With A Ball

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Scientists were long aware that the Tursiops dolphins might consist of more than one species. Molecular genetics allowed much greater insight into this previously intractable problem. The IUCN acknowledges two species, although a third distinct species was described in 2011: the common bottlenose dolphin (T. truncatus) is found in most tropical to temperate oceans, and it has a grey color, with the shade of grey varying among populations, but it can be bluish-grey, brownish-grey, or even nearly black, and is often darker on the back from the rostrum to behind the dorsal fin; the Black Sea bottlenose dolphin (T. t. ponticus), a subspecies of T. truncatus lives in the Black Sea; the Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. t. gillii or T. gillii), another subspecies of T. truncatus, lives in the Pacific, and has a black line from the eye to the forehead; the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (T. aduncus) lives in the waters around India, northern Australia, South China, the Red Sea, and the eastern coast of Africa, with the back being dark-grey and the belly being lighter grey or nearly white with grey spots; and the Burrunan dolphin (T. australis), found in the Port Phillip and Gippsland Lakes areas of Victoria, Australia, was described in September 2011 after research showed it was distinct from T. truncatus and T. aduncus, but it is not considered a separate species by the IUCN.

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