Melons, apparently, are not just juicy fruits you devour on a scorching hot day. The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin has a fat-filled forehead called the “melon” to project sound for communication and echolocation. Found in Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, these dolphins produce high frequency clicks that pass through the melons (which consist of special fats), before they receive and interpret the resulting echo. These echoes are used to find prey, navigate in the waters, and avoid predators.
At Adventure Cove Waterpark’s upcoming Dolphin Island, you’ll get a chance to come up close and personal with these dolphins through educational interaction programmes.
“My, what big teeth you have!”
A bottlenose dolphin’s age can be determined by examining its teeth. As the dolphin grows older, its teeth grow larger with layers in the root. By counting these growth layers within a dolphin’s tooth, scientists can find out how old it is.
“Sleep isn’t for the weak”
Recent field studies of dolphin pods are leading researchers to suspect that bottlenose dolphins spend as much as a third of each day sleeping or resting. During these periods of observation, research scientists believe only one brain hemisphere remains active to handle surfacing and breathing behaviour. In addition, dolphins have to continually be aware of their surroundings, even when asleep, as this is when they are most vulnerable to attacks by predators like sharks. Do not be alarmed when you see a dolphin remaining near the surface, swimming slowly and even occasionally closing one eye during its sleep cycle!
Trivia Time: What sounds do bottlenose dolphins produce?
Did you know the dolphin can “orchestrate” a symphony of sounds? Besides echolocation, bottlenose dolphins also produce whistles to identify themselves and for social interaction. In addition, loud impulse sounds are used to confuse predators.
Want to know more about dolphins? Visit the info-panels put up by Marine Life Park’s Education and Conservation team, which are situated at the Maritime Experiential Museum and the S.E.A. Aquarium.