Bottlenose dolphins of San Luis Texas: Occurrence patterns, site-fidelity and habitat use




Maze, Katherine and Linda-Jane Smith, MD

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Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission


In September 1995 a project began to examine occurrence patterns, habitat use, site fidelity, and movements of bottlenose dolphins in the San Luis Pass area, a relatively undisturbed area at the southwestern end of Galveston Bay estuary, and to compare findings to previous work in Galveston Bay, approximately 48 km away. The first author conducted boat-based photo-identification surveys during 12 months in 1995-96, and the second author conducted surveys for 12 months during 1997-98. Thirty-seven animals were identified utilizing the West Bay, Chocolate Bay and San Luis Pass portions of the study area in the initial survey. During the second survey year, 21 of these animals were frequently identified utilizing the same area. The combined findings of these studies indicate that there is a small population of dolphins with site fidelity for the far West Bay portion of the Galveston Bay system. The data obtained during these two years provides valuable baseline information identifying individuals within that group and their behavior patterns.


pgs. 246-247


bottlenose dolphin, tursiops truncatus, habitat, biological surveys, behavior, feeding behavior, environmental conditions