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Characterization of the bootlenose dolphins

„For in the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” – B.Dioum

1. Reproduction. Birth and care of young.

Age when attaining sexual maturity is variable among bootlenose dolphins. On average , females become sexualy mature at about 5 to 12 years. Males become sexually mature at about 10 to 12 years. Females seem to be sexually receptive during a large part of the year and are generally responsible for initiating courtship and breeding behavior.Bottlenose dolphins may breed throughout the year. However, certain breeding seasons have been observed and vary with location. Breeding seasons generally coincide with calving seasons. Worldwide, calves are born throughout the year. Seasonal calving peaks vary by area.Peak calving appears to be bimodal for dolphins in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon; most births occur in April and August. A female dolphin caon potentially bear a calf every two years, but calving intervals generally averabe three years. Calves are born in the water. Sometimes an assisting dolphin may stay close to the new mother and calf. Althought this assisting dolphin often is referred to as an „aunte: dolphin, it may be male or female. This „auntie” dolphin is often the only other dolphin a mother allows near her calf.In the first few days after birth , the dorsal fin and tail flukes are flaccid and pliable, but gradually become more stiff. Calves are darker than adults and show several...

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