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Pat is one of the first dolphins identified by Oceanic Society researchers in 1992. Her sickle-shaped fin has a thin white strip along its trailing edge (the rear edge of the fin). From data collected over a 22-year period, we know that Pat has a large home range; we find her in many locations, from near the front dock of the field station to the southernmost tip of Turneffe Atoll
Sawfin is a long-term resident of Turneffe Atoll and one of our most commonly sighted dolphins. She is often seen raising a calf. On average, adult female dolphins give birth to a single calf once every four years. We often find Sawfin foraging and resting in the lush seagrass meadows of Harry Jones Cut to the west of Blackbird Caye, typically in the company of her daughter, Chance.
Often found traveling through the Grand Bogue and the Central Lagoon like many adult females, Jules is frequently seen in maternal groups composed of mother-calf pairs. Her calf, Pixie, is about 3 years old, but Jules still swims close to her side and will often place herself between Pixie and other dolphins, a way to protect her dependent calf from potential harm by other animals.
One of the friendliest dolphins we encounter, Chance is a 4-6 year old juvenile female named for her "chancy" behavior, frequently approaching our research boat, Miss Callie, and bow riding during behavior observations. With our underwater camera propped off the side of the boat, we often see Chance present her belly to the boat, offering a surefire way to identify her gender when we get a look at her genital slits.
Buster is a juvenile male dolphin that we observed swimming right by his mother's side (Pat) for nearly seven years! These days, he tends to travel across patches of the stony coral communities and seagrass meadows in Grand Bogue. Buster is sometimes found alone, emitting interesting sequences of whistles (a type of dolphin acoustic call) when approaching the boat. Similar whistles are recorded during his interactions with other members of the coastal dolphin population at Turneffe.
Ton is a big adult male with a large girth who is several feet longer than most adult females. Most sightings with Ton involve active socializing at the surface. Bottlenose dolphin males like Ton spend much of their lives pursuing mates, and he is certainly no exception. Ton is easily identified from a distance by his ragged dorsal fin.
A gregarious resident male, we often see Pack as he approaches the boat attempting to bow-ride. He seems to have a sizeable home range that is typical of male dolphins, and often feeds alone on schools of bar jack (a species of fish). A student volunteer suggested we name him Pack, as the tip of his fin resembles Pac Man because of the two big chunks missing from the top of his dorsal fin.
Whiro is an adult male dolphin with a scarred-up fin that we find traveling and socializing in big groups, primarily within the deeper regions around Crayfish Range and Cross Caye. We recently identified Whiro as a male, providing Oceanic Society researchers with another piece of the puzzle that will help to decipher the causes of his behavior in groups and movement patterns around the lagoon.
The most notable feature of Toots, besides the scarring of his fin, is the characteristic high-pitched "toot" sound that he makes in air when exhaling from his blowhole—it resembles the sound of a boiling teakettle. We're not sure if he has a respiratory problem, but he appears healthy and his in-air sounds are useful for keeping track of his whereabouts when he disappears from sight during our behavior observations.
Cleo is a vigilant mother, keeping her calf, Clem, close to her side when making her way across her typical resting habitat near Grand Bogue. Like several other female dolphins in the region, the trailing edge of her dorsal fin has some white coloration and is scarred with rake marks, evidence of bites from other dolphins.
Since we nicknamed Blotch, the characteristic white blotch on the leading edge of his dorsal fin (the front edge of the fin) seems to have healed! Luckily for us, he has a notch at the base of his fin with a small curve that makes it a breeze to identify him in the field and from identification photos.