Project Manaia

Dolphin Communication and Intelligence

Image by Wolfgang Zimmel via Pixabay

The cetaceans Odontoceti, commonly known as dolphins, are aquatic mammals with a lifespan of around 20-80 years depending on the size of the species. They live in tropical underwater habitats, and their diet typically consists of smaller sea creatures like fish and crustaceans.

Dolphins are social marine animals that hunt, swim, and communicate in large groups called “pods”. Whistles, pulses, and clicks are the most popular type of communication between dolphins, and they navigate their surroundings using echolocation.

Image by PublicDomainImages via Pixabay

Bottlenose dolphins, in addition to using whistles to communicate, acquire a signature whistle as a part of their individual identities. Most of the time, signature whistles are utilized to send distress signals, and other whistles are sounded for the purpose of hunting prey in groups, calling each other for safety from predators, or reuniting with the pod.

Clicks, another type of vocal communication, are used for echolocation, which is a sense of “sight” based on sound, helpful to perceiving environments that are dark and deep underwater. The dolphin emits sound, and perceives the echoes that bounce back from its surroundings.

Dolphins seemingly communicate through body language as well, however scientists and researchers have yet to fully understand the meanings behind each physical behavior. In addition to the various methods of communication, specific cells within the brain of a dolphin are devoted to tasks like recognition, reason, and perception. This causes them to process emotions and experiences in a detailed and complex way. 

Image by AJRPROJ via Pixabay

Besides humans, bottlenose dolphins were found to be one of the only species to recognize themselves in a mirror. Dolphins are intelligent and communicative animals that are a fascinating species to study and observe. 

If you would like to hear how dolphins and other underwater animals send signals to one another, The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), provides a variety of marine sound clips under “Sounds in the Ocean”.

Written by Miette Broussard

Do you want to read more from Miette Broussard? You can check the articles below.

Marine Caves and their importance

Sea shells and their shapes

To Whom we belong

The poem was inspired by my stay on the Waya Waya sailing ship from 23 July to…

Read More

Marine Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton are a species of microalgae that dwell in water. They are photosynthetic organisms that…

Read More

Ocean Warming

Image by Sebastian Arie Voortman via Pexels When heat is trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere…

Read More
Translate »