This social marine mammal forms groups consisting of up to 100 individuals (2); those inhabiting coastal areas generally form the smallest schools, of 5 to 15 dolphins (4). These schools, which may be segregated by age and sex, have a fluid structure, with dolphins joining and splitting into smaller groups, although long-term bonds are also formed within this gregarious social system (2) (5). In the Bahamas, Atlantic spotted dolphins are often known to associate with bottlenose dolphins as they travel and search for fish, squid and bottom-dwelling invertebrates on which to feed (2). The Atlantic spotted dolphin is an acrobatic species, frequently riding the bow waves of boats (4), leaping out of the water, and playing at every opportunity (5). It is also capable of diving to up to 60 metres, remaining underwater for up to 6 minutes (2). It is known to be preyed on by sharks, but killer whales and other small-toothed whales may also be predators of this dolphin (2). Mature female Atlantic spotted dolphins give birth every one to five years, with the average interval between births being three years. The young is nursed for up to five years, and females become sexually mature at an estimated eight to fifteen years of age (2).
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