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Dolphin Names, Gangs & Alliances

18 June 2018 | DWC Blog

We know we have been very caught up in how wonderful the Humpbacks have been lately.

But we certainly haven’t forgotten our resident Bottlenose Dolphins!
Research hot off the press from Western Australia, proves some of the observations and theories we have made about our special friends over the last 30 years while cruising on Jervis Bay.

Bottlenose Dolphin Bubbles - Dolphin Watch Cruises

Dolphins with names

We often name dolphins we see regularly and are easy to identify, ‘Dallas’, ‘Casper’, ‘Kinta and Shark-bite’ are a few that quickly come to mind. This research suggests dolphins greet each other by individual vocal cues that “broadcast their identity” developing their signature whistle in the first few months of life, comparable to human names!

Dolphin Gang Whistle

The same study discovered Dolphins form specific alliances and small pods often of 3-4 males have a group/gang signature whistle that unites them and indicates to other dolphins which group or gang they belong to. Allowing dolphins to recognise friends and rivals, it has also been revealed that dolphins have a “long term social memory” and are able to recall other pods group whistle for up to 20 years!

White Bottlenose Dolphin Jervis Bay - Dolphin Watch Cruises

Synchronous Behaviour

Fascinatingly, small pods of male dolphins were also observed to, perform synchronised displays of activity, something we have observed with this special visiting trio over the years.

Trio Bottlenose Dolphins Jervis Bay - Dolphin Watch Cruises
Social Bonds

The make dolphins also spend alot of time making physical contact to establish social relationships this included:

“Similar to holding hands or hugging in humans, where you do that with people you have a close relationship with, perhaps it makes you feel better. But the males engage in this kind of behaviour as a way of strengthening their social bonds.”

How interesting!
You can read the full article here.

If you want to see some of this behaviour in the wild, then don’t delay in booking your cruise with us.