Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. They are highly social creatures, usually traveling in pods, and occasionally in super pods of a thousand or more animals. Pods of dolphins resemble synchronized swimmers in their ability to move in unison as a coordinated group.
Dolphins are able to communicate through a series of complex vocalizations, and use echolocation to locate food and predators. They have well developed hearing and eyesight, and are thought to be very intelligent.
Superb swimmers, dolphins are very fast and agile. ... ...continue under photos...
... Their bodies are streamlined for speed, with a tail fin, or fluke for propulsion and a dorsal fin that acts as a keel to give them stability. Dolphins are playful and acrobatic, often jumping clear out of the water.
They have a long snout, with about 100 teeth, and a single blow hole on the top of the head. Dolphins feed on things such as fish, squid, shrimp and octopus.
There are 36 species of dolphins worldwide. Some dolphins are commonly called whales, but are actually members of the dolphin family. The Orca, or Killer Whale, is the largest of the dolphins. Pods of handsome black and white orcas are often sighted in the Pacific Northwest. Another common dolphin of the Pacific Northwest is the Pacific white-sided dolphin. These dolphins are smaller than orcas, and are patterned with grey, white and black.
The Atlantic coast of Canada is home to another dolphin, known as the long-finned pilot whale. These dolphins have a rounded head, a long stocky body, and a curved dorsal fin. The bottlenose dolphin is one of the best-known dolphins, popularized through TV shows and movies for its playful and friendly nature.
Photographs of dolphins in their natural ocean environment capture how wonderful these energetic and intelligent creatures really are.