There are 47 known species of dolphins in the world, 3 live in the Black Sea. They often swim out of sight, enter bays, follow ships and pleasure boats. The dolphins of the Black Sea are considered to be the largest of its inhabitants from the category of mammals. Some vacationers come to the Black Sea coast to communicate with these amazing creatures of the sea.
Types of Black Sea dolphins
The peculiarity of this water basin is that deeper than 200 m there is almost no life, hindered by hydrogen sulfide formations. The number of species of flora and fauna is limited. But those species that have adapted to the difficult living conditions enjoy large populations.
Dolphins in the Black Sea are common. They are protected by law, destruction is prohibited, and fishing is strictly limited. Scientists cannot say exactly how many dolphins are in the Black Sea. It has been determined that its waters are inhabited by 3 species, differing in size and appearance. They freely sail through the straits into the Sea of Azov, accompanying shoals of fish.
Dolphins have amazing echolocation abilities. They are deprived of their sense of smell; instead, their hearing and vision are exacerbated to the utmost. Thanks to their natural sonar, they are able to detect prey from 3 km away. For mammals, this is important because they need at least 20-30 kg of fish per day.
All species live in flocks, where most individuals are relatives. They have a very strong sense of mutual assistance. More than once dolphins have been observed supporting their sick or weakened congeners so that they could breathe on the surface. The species that live in the Black Sea have a lot in common.
They do not go below 200 m for food, they sleep for 10-15 minutes, with the hemispheres of the brain working alternately. Their sense of community is so great that instead of scattering when a shark approaches, tropical dolphins can together tear the predator to shreds. And yet they never show aggression first, they are very friendly and curious.
The largest species of the Black Sea basin. They are great actors and most often become residents of dolphinariums. For those who doubt whether there are dolphins in the Black Sea, it is worth to go on a boat trip near sunset and watch the frolicking beauties.
The bottlenose whale is one of the toothed whales; it feeds its cubs with milk, just like other species, which is why it is considered a class of mammal. After mating to the moment of birth takes 11 months, the babies are not born in eggs, but alive and breathing. For the first month, they are very restless and give their mother almost no rest. She looks at this patiently and indulgently and hasn’t slept in almost a month either.
Sleep phases in dolphins of any age are very short. They must regularly rise to the surface to get a breath of air. So while one hemisphere sleeps, the other works as an alarm clock, scrambling for the next wake-up.
Under favorable conditions, they live about 35 years and take a long time to mature. They communicate using special signals, scientists have counted about 100 combinations, they were able to decipher only the most primitive, which are also accepted in other animals, although the intelligence of these mammals is very high.
It is interesting that dolphins are similar to humans in many ways, there are even common diseases.
The bottlenose dolphin is often called a bottlenose dolphin because of the peculiar structure of its nose. It is considered the largest representative of the dolphin tribe in the Black Sea. As an adult, it grows up to 2.5 m in length, gaining almost 300 kg in weight. They have a mobile muscular body, it is perfectly adapted for high-speed gliding in the water column.
They are able to reach speeds of up to 50 km/h and jump out of the water at 4-5 m. The dark blue color of the back on the belly changes to white or beige.
The fins for the dolphin act as:
- means of transportation;
- steering wheel;
- heat exchanger.
Aphalins are not proponents of long journeys, have a sedentary lifestyle, move within the same water basin, and live in small communities. There are individuals who are attracted to adventure by curiosity. It is noticed that after a while they come back and emotionally exchange information with the members of the pack. The diet is varied, including shrimp, crustaceans, squid. The dolphin, which lives in the Black Sea, gives special affection to flounder and anchovy. They often accompany the silvery shoals of this fish, biting into the side a little at a time.
There are a total of four known subspecies of the Aphalian, including the Australian, Indian, Far Eastern, and Black Sea. There are about 7 thousand individuals of this species in the Black Sea and their number is gradually decreasing.
There are several reasons:
- increase in the number of shipping lanes and the intensity of ship traffic;
- the remains of fishing gear, in which the dolphins get entangled and die;
- ingress of harmful substances into the water and oil spills.
In order to preserve the population, the aphalins have been listed in the Red Book.
It was named for its ability to easily change from one pool of water to another, distinguished by its fidgety nature. This is the smallest dolphin that exists in the Black Sea. It has several names: pestilence, guinea pig, stuffed animal. Character of the Azov fish is fastidious, it prefers to spend the summer in the Sea of Azov, where it is warmer, and for the wintering in the deeper Black Sea.
In his gastronomic preferences, he also surprises by his fastidiousness. If there is a choice, he will eat only hamsa. This feature is very helpful to anglers, in the direction of the pack azovka calculating the approximate size and trajectory of the commercial fish. The plague has an enviable appetite; for its small stature, it manages to gobble up at least 10 kilograms of fish daily.
Dolphin size rarely exceeds 180 cm, he lives smaller than aphalins. Individuals at the age of 20 years are already considered to be long-livers. It is easy to distinguish distemper from other species by its behavior. Because of its body structure, it does not accompany boats and never shows itself completely out of the water when jumping. Its body shape is more thickened, its fin is triangular, and its snout has no characteristic beak. The cub is also born alone, feeds on its mother’s milk until six months of age, and then can go on a free voyage. He rarely exercises his right, staying in the pack and often swimming up to his mother.
Azovka often appear in the bay of Anapa, circling near the coast, but do not come close.
Worth considering! The species is also considered scarce and is included in the Red Book of the Krasnodar Territory for protection.
A lover of the sea rarely approaches the shore, preferring the depth and freedom. Likes to change the place of residence, lives in the Red, Mediterranean, Caribbean Sea, visits the Gulf of Mexico, seen off the coast of Norway. It regularly appears in the Black and Azov water basins. To the list of dolphins found in the Black Sea, you can safely add the white-sided dolphin, too.
The body length reaches 2.4 m, while females are more modest, about 1.6 m. Large specimens weigh 100 kg. The predatory body contours, contrasting black and white coloration and a number of impressive teeth are capable of frightening the uninitiated. And in vain. The character of the white-fronted duck is stricter than that of aphalins with their known predisposition to humans. But they don’t intend to do any harm.
In terms of color intensity, a distinction is made between juveniles and adults. The older the dolphin, the clearer the patterns and contrasts. They become independent at the age of three. It takes them a long time to grow up; they do not pair up until they are 12-14 years old. The courtship process is very beautiful and includes dancing and treats with delicious fish. The baby is born after 12 months of carrying, in the first 10 minutes the mother tries to push it to the surface for the first breath. Often several older females help in this demanding task.
Solitary life does not like, gather in flocks of 100 or more individuals. Sometimes smaller, familial groups join together to form a kind of empire of several thousand individuals. But intra-clan ties remain strong. As they move, they can reach speeds of up to 60 m/h, accompanying a school of fish or a fast vessel.
On the menu is listed:
A squirrel needs only 10-11 kilograms of food per day. Under natural conditions, they can live up to 35 years.
Squirrel populations are covered by the Small Cetacean Conservation Memorandum and are also protected by the Mediterranean Basin Convention. The process of reduction of the species has almost stopped and there is hope for population recovery, including in the Black Sea.
Where do Black Sea dolphins winter?
Despite the fact that the surface of the sea does not freeze, in some areas the storm season begins and it becomes quite uncomfortable. Reluctantly, but plagues and aphalins leave the shores of Anapa, Georgia and move to warmer streams off the coast of Crimea. The densest cluster is marked there. Black Sea dolphins wait out the bad weather of the winter months in a more comfortable environment.
- The friendliest and most talented are the bottlenose ducks, the first place for curiosity belongs to the Azov, the craving for travel is more inherent in the white-fronted ducks.
- In dolphinariums, the most common are bottlenose dolphins, they quickly become attached to the man, released into the wild, regularly come to shore to check on their companion.
- Dolphins can hold air for up to 15 minutes.
- In the first minutes after birth, the cub must rise to the surface and breathe air.
- The speed record belongs to the whiteflies and is 60 km/h.
- Each dolphin has a name given to it at birth.
- Dolphin regeneration is 8 times faster than human regeneration.
- The body is able to produce an analogue of morphine as an anesthetic for trauma.
- There are river dolphins that have perfectly adapted to life in fresh water.
The unique biolocator is able to give the dolphin a clear indication of its location, the appearance of food in its reach, and new members of the pack. Sometimes accidents happen, and for some unknown reason the system fails. At such a moment a disoriented dolphin is able to throw itself onto the shore. In this case, he really needs a man’s help. Animals found on the Black Sea coast are transported to veterinary care centers, and then they are rehabilitated in swimming pools. Small calves can be carefully transferred to shallow water, where they are able to move on their own.
Remember that an adult dolphin of any kind should not be rolled and dragged, they have very delicate skin. You can help by pouring water on it and calling emergency services.
For dolphins to continue to inhabit the expanses of the Black Sea, it takes very little – to preserve the purity of their habitat and not to cause harm through poaching. Then our descendants will also be able to watch the dolphins’ amazing dances at sunset, swim with them in a race and try to figure out their unusually rich language.