Dolphin Discoveries: New Calves & Male Aggression

During Trip 2, we made some fascinating findings and witnessed exciting behavior, including sharks and aggressive males. Read on to learn more!

Little Bahama Bank

Amanda, an adult female Atlantic spotted dolphin, has a new female calf. (Amanda is a particularly special dolphin, read our blog just about her). We also found one of the juvenile males last seen six  years ago: Shades. Shades is not a juvenile anymore and is a little more grown up and mature now, which means he has many more spots. (Read our old blog about our detective work to make positive matches — it’s not easy).

Remember those juveniles I mentioned from Trip 1? Well, we saw many of them again on Trip 2 and they all seem to be rather spunky. During one encounter, we watched a juvenile female taunt a big shark by wagging her tail. She managed to entice it to chase her before it swam off. While we were thankful the shark was minding its own business, hopefully the young female becomes a little smarter around sharks in the future, as they are a predator of dolphins. After a few days on LBB, we decided to go to Bimini to look for our finned friends on Great Bahama Bank (GBB).

Down to Bimini

On GBB, we had several small encounters, including one with two of last summer’s calves: Magnolia (daughter of Meridian, originally from LBB) and Banshee (son of Bishu, originally from LBB). Our passengers on Trip 2 loved watching Bishu and Banshee nuzzle and play with each other. It was one of the most heartwarming sights we have ever seen.

There were several pregnant females, including one of  females who is in a family line with four documented generations –– Nassau, originally from LBB. Fingers crossed we have several new calves next summer. We had a quick swim by with three females –– Suey, Tristan and Arugula –– and each of them had new calves.

We were fortunate to have a large encounter with 35 spotted dolphins — mostly males engaged in aggressive behaviors. It was amazing to watch and resulted in great behavioral interactions as various male coalitions went head-to-head. It was by far the largest group I have ever been in the water with!

Early on in this encounter, we saw Aquarius, a resident of GBB,  with her new calf as they swam away from the large group of tussling males and juveniles. While we unfortunately had to return a little earlier than planned due to incoming storms, that one encounter more than made up for our early departure.

The summer has already started off with a bang and we hope that it continues to be “fintastic”!

-Hayley Knapp