Subject: Difference between male and female dolphins

Nancy Stevick (Nancy.Stevick@btinternet.com)
Thu, 3 Jun 1999 12:50:15 +0100

On 02 June 1999 17:28, Kelly wrote:


>How can you tell the difference between a female dolphin and a male
dolphin?
>
>Thanks for you help,



Dear Kelly,

For most dolphin species, you cannot tell the difference between male and
female dolphins if you see them in the wild.  You can be sure a dolphin is a
female if you see it closely accompanied by a calf.  Dolphin fathers do not
help to raise their young.  In some species the males are slightly larger
than the females, but there is so much individual variation in size that
this is not a foolproof way to identify free swimming males and females.

In order to determine the sex of dolphins, you must be able to see their
bellies.  The males have a genital slit closer to their umbilical scar
(belly buttons).  Females have a genital slit closer to the tail and have
mammary slits on either side.  This design protects the dolphins' genitals
and makes the animals more streamline for faster swimming.

Best Wishes,

Nancy Stevick