Dolphin “Superpods” Gathering Off South Africa

A Science Magazine video of dolphin “superpods.”

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS OFF SOUTH AFRICA’S EASTERN CAPE cape are clustering in superpods in unprecedented numbers – with as many as 600 members – according to a  study recently published in the journal Marine Mammal Science.

While Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) have traditionally been known to swim in pods as large as 50 or 60 animals, the pod sizes have increased dramatically in recent years, going from an average of 18 in 2008 to an average of 76 in 2016.

THE NELSON MANDELA UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS noted that dolphin pods were larger in the shallow Algoa Bay, averaging 325 members, than offshore, averaging 135 members.

A report on the article in Science Magazine’s daily online newsfeed indicated the researchers suspect the dolphins may be gathering in such large numbers in such shallow areas as a defense against great white sharks, who are numerous and active in the area.

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