Splashy the dolphin

The Story of Splashy

Splashy is a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncates, named in honor of Elliot Carlsson of California.

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers have observed Splashy twice. The first sighting was on February 12, 2012 between south Maui and Kahoolawe. Splashy was seen with a single bottlenose dolphin interacting with a humpback whale. The small group was very elusive with most of their time spent diving. Splashy was sighted again on March 16, 2015 four miles north of Molokini in a pod of six adult bottlenose dolphins. The group was very inquisitive and displayed several behaviors including belly up swimming, bow riding, and leaping.

Bottlenose dolphins use echolocation to locate prey. The dolphin produces a rapid train of clicks (as many as several hundred per second) in the area just beneath its blowhole. These sounds are emitted through the dolphin's fatty forehead (which is called the melon). The sound waves clicks bounce off objects and the echoes are picked up by the dolphin's lower jaw.

The sound travels through a layer of fat to the dolphin's inner ear and forms a picture in the dolphins' brain. Combined with the dolphin's vision, which is thought to be as good as human vision, a dolphin can readily locate food in the area, and can even determine factors such as its density, speed of movement and direction. Knowing that dolphins can also swim at speeds of 40 mph, it's easy to understand why they are such efficient hunters!

We thank you for adopting Splashy and supporting the ongoing research efforts at Pacific Whale Foundation. We look forward to other sightings of Splashy in the future, as we gather data about toothed whales and dolphins in the region of Maui, Lana'i, Molokai and Kahoolawe (Hawaii's "Four Island" region) in the years ahead.

Sightings of Splashy