Most dolphin species eat pelagic ﬁsh and squid, but
some species having a different and more diverse diet.
Depending on the species and their size, dolphins can consume
from several pounds up to 500 pounds of food per day.
An interesting fact is that
dolphins do not chew their food.
Adult bottlenose dolphins eat
approximately 5% of their
body weight in food per day.
Adult males usually weight
about 1,100 pounds.
Bottlenose dolphins typically feed on ﬁsh and invertebrates found near the
shoreline, while deep water bottlenose dolphins feed on pelagic squid and ﬁsh.
The mullet the tuna
are their favorite ﬁsh species.
Bottlenose Dolphins remove the
meat from spiny ﬁshes, reducing the
chance of injury from sharp spines.
Amazon River Dolphin
This species, which can be
found in the Amazon and
Orinoco river basins, has a
very different diet.
Its diet includes at
least 43 different
This dolphin feeds on
ﬁsh and crustaceans
found at the bottom
of the river.
Botos are usually
solitary feeders and
consume about 2.5% of their body weight every day.
A single boto’s stomach may contain more ﬁsh species than
the total number of prey species seen in other dolphin species.
extant members of thetype
dolphin family and need another
Killer whales are the
The diet of
one region to
eat a wide variety of large prey including: ﬁsh, seals, penguins, sea lions, sea
otters, sea turtles, and even other dolphins and some shark species.
Killer whales often hunt
cooperatively in pods for food.
Orcas eat on average 500 pounds of
food a day, but they can eat much
more than that.
An Orca stranded in Denmark in the 1800s had the remnants
of 13 porpoises and 14 seals in its stomach.
There are several methods used by dolphins when foraging.
Some of them are exclusive to a single population.
Dolphins use high frequency echolocation to locate and capture prey. They
also use multiple feeding strategies, including the "ﬁsh whacking," where
they strike a ﬁsh with their ﬂukes and knock it out of the water.
A diversity of sensory-aided strategies including
passive hearing, vision, and infraspeciﬁc
behavioral cues, are likely used by dolphins.
One common feeding technique is herding.
Prey herding is a common tactic used by dolphins, porpoises, whales and
pinnipeds and it involves the manipulation of a complete school of ﬁsh to
increase the chances to catch more ﬁshes with less energy.
is a method where dolphins chase ﬁsh into shallow water to catch
them more easily as their chances to escape are reduced.
Some species also whack ﬁsh with their ﬂukes,
stunning them and knocking them out of the water.
1. Animal Diversity Web. Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.
2. The Amazon: River in a Rain Forest- By Molly Aloian
3. Sea World Info Books
4. Killer Whales of the World: Natural History and Conservation - By Robin W.
5. Echolocation in Bats and Dolphins - by Jeanette A. Thomas, Cynthia F. Moss,
6. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals - by William F. Perrin, Bernd Wursig, J.