Dolphin 56 Sighting Summary

Dolphin 56 Sighting Summary

Field Study - Indian River Lagoon Dolphins

Decades Of Sightings

Dolphin 56 was captured, freeze-branded and released in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, on August 28, 1979. At capture he measured 238 cm, weighed 145 kg and was estimated to be 12 years old based on tooth GLG counts. From that time through late 1996, he remained in the general area of the capture site and was sighted over 40 times. Sometime late in 1996 or early 1997 he moved north out of Florida with reported sightings over the next three years as far north as New York State. The last sighting of 1997 was in September in North Carolina. He re-appeared in February 1998 in North Carolina and moved north as far as New York. He spent the summer of 1998 in the New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia area and moved south to North Carolina as winter approached. He was not sighted for several months but reappeared off Virginia Beach, Virginia, in March 1999. He moved south to North Carolina and spent the summer of 1999 in North Carolina and northern South Carolina. He has been observed dozens of times since he left Florida with film and video documentation of many of the sightings.

Map - Dolphin 56 Sightings: 1997

  • Over 40 confirmed sightings in Indian River Lagoon
  • Cocoa to Mosquito Lagoon, Florida
  • Also seen in Banana River, Florida
  • Well known by fishermen and boaters

Map - Dolphin 56 Sightings: 1998

  • Indian River Lagoon (IRL) to Jacksonville, Florida - 200 km
  • IRL to Beauford, NC - 900 km
  • IRL to Virginia Beach, VA - 1100 km
  • IRL to Delaware Bay - 1600 km
  • IRL to Sheepshead Bay, NY - 2100+ km

Monthly Tallies - Dolphin 56 Sightings: 1999

Month Locations
January no sightings
February no sightings
March VA = 1, NC = 2
April NC = 1, SC = 1
May NC = 2, SC = 3
June NC = 8, SC = 1
July NC = 6, SC = 2
August NC=3, SC=2
September NC=1
October no data
November no data
December no data


VA = Virginia, USA
NC = North Carolina, USA
SC = South Carolina, USA