31 August 2017

Intermediate dolphin

Striped dolphin? Common dolphin? A mix of both species?

For information on mixed-species groups in the Gulf of Corinth see THIS ARTICLE.

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

29 August 2017


A striped dolphin about to breach.

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

28 August 2017

Pale striped dolphin calf

Today we observed a striped dolphin calf with a rather unusual pale brown pigmentation. No idea why that happened, but the calf looked fine, swimming with mom in a group of about 300 (including many other mother-calf pairs).

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

27 August 2017

Bottlenose dolphin bow

A bottlenose dolphin performs a 'bow' (a kind of arched leap) in the Bay of Antikyra, Greece.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

24 August 2017

22 August 2017

What is this sea turtle doing?

What is this loggerhead sea turtle doing? We saw him perform this unusual behaviour for a while, before diving out of sight. Could it be mating with another sea turtle? We have observed a somewhat similar behaviour involving two mating turtles, but both were partly visible at the surface. In this case we are totally ignorant.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

18 August 2017

Striped dolphin's dorsal fin

An ideal image for individual photo-identification.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

14 August 2017

Fetal folds

A tiny striped dolphin baby surfaces alongside her mother. The wrinkled body shows 'fetal folds' typical of a newborn.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

12 August 2017

Dolphin class

Today we made a presentation about dolphins and biodiversity conservation to a group of Greek students led by Anastasia Ioannidis. Thank you Anastasia (and Chrisoula) for making it possible!

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Galaxidi, Greece)

Two species and a half

Left to right: an intermediate (hybrid?) dolphin, a striped dolphin and a common dolphin swim together.

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

10 August 2017

Goodbye short-beaked

The "short-beaked" part of the "short-beaked common dolphin" name has been terminated. It looks like Delphinus delphis is going to be a simple "common dolphin"... again.

Delphinus capensis (the former long-beaked common dolphin) is now considered a synomym of D. delphis: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=137094

The news had long been announced, but it seems to have become a reality according to the latest revision of the list of marine mammals species edited by the Society for Marine Mammalogy's Committee of Taxonomy:

Goodbye short-beaked?

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

Mirror bird

Talking about the mirror test, and the species used to seeing their own reflection, this is another. Shearwaters spend much of their life gliding just above the water surface: who is the bird that constantly glides upside down just below?

Birds that passed the mirror test famously include magpies http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0060202

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

09 August 2017

Mirror test

How could dolphins not recognise themselves in a mirror? Each time they jump on a calm sea they see their image reflected below.

The mirror test (also called rouge test) is a rather primitive, anthropocentric and notoriously biased way of testing self-awareness in nonhuman animals. Some dolphin species passed the test, but not passing the mirror test does not prove lack of self-awareness (as shown for dogs, as soon as a smell-based test was designed).

If dolphins were to design a test (likely a sophisticated one based on acoustics) for testing human self-awareness, how many of us would manage to pass it?

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

08 August 2017

Dolphin harassment

Some people innocently tend to assume that dolphins always want to "play", and sometims they do like to play and bowride boats. Chasing this group at high speed, however, went on for too long and it all turned into harassment. We were relieved when this inflatable left the area, but by then dolphin behaviour had changed from confidence to clear avoidance. While cases of harassement are uncommon in the Gulf of Corinth, educating people to respect wildlife is a fundamental aspect of conservation.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

07 August 2017

Aggressive striped dolphins?

Even striped dolphins can be nasty. This individual, observed today, was badly wounded by the bites of a conspecific. This animal will eventually recover, but the images suggest that aggressive interactions resulting in significant lesions sometimes do occur even in this normally peaceful species.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

06 August 2017

Gulf of Corinth: Important Marine Mammal Area

Based on a proposal we had presented last year, the Gulf of Corinth has become one of 26 sites awarded Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) status in the Mediterranean. This is one more step toward better protection for marine mammals and habitat conservation.

For more information:

Subsurface exhalation

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

05 August 2017


Chrisoula printed cool T-shirts as a gift to Silvia. Thank you Chrisoula!

04 August 2017

Cetacean Behavior Toward the Dead and Dying

We just published a chapter titled "Cetacean Behavior Toward the Dead and Dying". It is an overview of how cetaceans relate to death.

Bearzi G., Eddy L., Piwetz S., Reggente M.A.L., Cozzi B. 2017. Cetacean
behavior toward the dead and dying. Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and
Behavior (J. Vonk and T.K. Shackelford, eds.). Springer International
Publishing. DOI 1007/978-3-319-47829-6_2023-1.

03 August 2017

Two species, one couple

A short-beaked common dolphin and a striped dolphin leaping together. These two individuals, belonging to different species, were observed socializing intensively.

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

02 August 2017

Pure and hybrid dolphins

A short-beaked common dolphin female with an individual of intermediate (striped x common dolphin) pigmentation.

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)