Educational Resource-Dolphin Anatomy

Dolphin Anatomy

This section is designed to aid the teachers in fulfilling the following AHSGE Standards and Objectives requirements.

  • Standard: III-3

Below is an image featuring the major parts of a bottlenose dolphin’s body:

dolphin anatomy label

  1. Dorsal Fin – The dorsal fin is falcate (curved back) and located center of the back. It is made up of fibrous tissue. May act to stabilize the dolphin as it swims but it is not a necessity, since some dolphin’s dorsal fins are damaged
  2. Blowhole – Located on the top of the head. It is used by the dolphin to breathe
  3. Melon – The rounded structure on the top of the head used to produce sound for communication and echolocation
  4. Rostrum – The snout of the dolphin contains 20-25 teeth that are conical in shape. These interlocking conical teeth are used for catching prey not chewing it. Dolphins swallow their food whole
  5. Pectoral Flippers – The pectoral flippers are the dolphin’s forelimbs. They resemble the forearm of land mammals. The flippers are curved and pointed on the ends and have a primary function of helping the dolphin to steer
  6. Tail Fluke – A Dolphin’s tail has 2 lobes called flukes. These flukes are flat, and made up of fibrous tissue. There is no bone or muscle. The tail fluke is used for swimming by the back muscles moving the fluke up and down

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