Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have a relatively short beak and a high,
hooked and prominent dorsal fin. Colour is dark or light grey on the back grading
to white on the undersides. Colour and shape can be variable however. In New Zealand
three main coastal populations exist: around 450 individuals live in the Bay of Islands
area, ranging from Doubtless Bay in Northland to Tauranga; around 63 live in Doubtful
Sound, Fiordland and another group range from the Marlborough Sounds to Westport.
Bottlenose dolphins are commonly associated with other cetaceans including pilot
whales, rough-toothed and Risso’s dolphins, and humpback whales. Individuals living
close to the shore feed primarily on a variety of inshore bottom-dwelling fish and
invertebrate species. Those offshore feed on mid-water fish species and oceanic squid.
Their dives rarely last longer than 3-4 minutes inshore, but may be longer offshore.
Individual feeding appears to be the most prevalent foraging method but individuals
are also known to work together to herd schools of fish.