Although our most commonly used way of telling dolphin individuals apart is by looking at their dorsal fins, we can also tell them apart by their faces! Like us, individual dolphins have unique faces. Look at the photos above. Each of those photos are different dolphins (read the names below each picture to know the name). Can you pick out any differences in the individual dolphins’ faces?
If you’re having trouble seeing the differences, then look at the pictures of Mangrove and Adzin. Both of these dolphins have a dull white chest with a light gray chin, and a yellowish tan-tipped rostrum. But now look closer. The yellowish tan color at the tip of Adzin’s rostrum is far more prominent than that on Mangrove. Adzin also has a dark gray patch around his eye, and a set of dark gray stripes on his melon, but Mangrove does not have a patch around his eye, and he only has a single, very unnoticeable, lighter gray blur on his melon. Now take Adzin or Mangrove’s face, and compare it to the other dolphins’ faces that are in this post.
Some dolphins have distinct facial features, like Snubfin’s rostrum, which is bubble gum pink around the tip! Snubfin also has a chest that is only slightly lighter than the rest of his/her body and no melon stripes.
The next time you’re out in the field watching dolphins, see if you can recognize any noticeable features on their faces.
Thanks for reading!