Reproduction

Bottlenose Dolphins

Reproduction

Sexual Maturity

  1. A dolphin's age at sexual maturity varies by geographical location and whether the dolphin is a male or female.
    • In Florida waters, the average female is sexually mature at about 5 to 12 years and 2.2 to 2.3 m (7.2-7.6 ft.). Males become sexually mature at about 10 to 13 years and 2.4 to 2.6 m (8-8.5 ft.).
    • In waters along the central U.S. Atlantic coast, females become sexually mature at about 7 to 13 years.
    • In South African waters, the average female is sexually mature at about 9 to 11 years. Males become sexually mature at about 14.5 years.
    • Bottlenose dolphins become sexually mature at various
      ages, usually occurring between 5 and 12 years.

Mating Activity

  1. Bottlenose dolphins may breed throughout the year. However, certain breeding seasons have been observed and vary with location. Breeding seasons generally coincide with calving seasons.
  2. Male and female bottlenose dolphins have multiple mates in a given reproductive season.
  3. During courtship, dolphins engage in head-butting and tooth-scratching.