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The rostrum is the dolphins jaw. 

Bottlenose dolphins have between about 80 to 100 cone shaped teeth.

Dolphins do not generally chew their food. They use their teeth to grasp their catch but usually swallow their prey whole.


The "melon" is a structure located in the forehead of dolphins that is thought to play a key role in their echolocation abilities. It is composed of fatty tissue and is shaped differently in various species of dolphins, likely indicating differences in their echolocation capabilities.


Dolphins are not able to look up or down. Often when a dolphin is bow riding or looking up at you it will turn over on its side enabling them to see you. 

Their eyes are specially designed to function in the underwater environment.


Dolphins have very sophisticated hearing and are able to hear a much larger range of frequencies than humans.

Dolphin ears are located on either side of their head, behind the eyes. 

Blow hole

Dolphins breathe through a blowhole which is on top of their head. The Dolphins trachea extends from their blowhole down into their lungs. They are therefore not able to breathe through their mouth.


The blowhole is covered by a muscular flap providing a water tight seal when they dive below the surface.

Dorsal fin

The Dorsal fin is made of dense fibrous connective tissue. The shape of the dorsal fin can be quite variable between different individuals.


The dorsal fin is prone to nicks and cuts and is the main use of identification.

Tail stock / keel

The tail stock, also known as the keel, is the narrow, vertical section of a dolphin's body located just before the fluke. It is composed of connective tissue and muscle, and helps to support and control the movement of the fluke. The shape and size of the tail stock can vary by species, with some having more pronounced keels than others. 

Tail fluke

The fluke, or tail fin, is the broad, horizontal section of a dolphin's tail that propels them through the water. It is composed of connective tissue and muscle, and can be moved up and down to produce the powerful thrust that propels the dolphin forward. The size and shape of a dolphin's fluke can vary by species, with some having more curved or pointed flukes, while others have flatter, wider flukes. 

Pectoral fins

The Pectoral fins are used to steer and control their directions. They can also be used to help slow down and control their speed.


Male genitals have two slits. Females have one genital slit and two smaller mammary slits positioned on either side of the genital slit.

Keep learning about dolphins by exploring other topics on our website such as dolphins communication, identification and behaviour


Identifying dolphins

Dolphins behaviour


Dolphins anatomy

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