Our new interns had quite a welcome from the local Bottlenose dolphin population on our survey on the 4th September. We were surveying in Cardigan Bay SAC and trying to get good pictures for our photo identification catalogue. We had a group of about 10 individuals (7 adults and 3 calves) circling the boat as there was a school of fish underneath on which they may have been feeding on. They were being quite active and leaping out of the water and splashing a lot! Little did we realize that they were also putting on quite a show for us.
It was only when we looked at the photos later that we saw the dolphins were also playing with a jellyfish and tossing it up into the air! From looking at the photos we can see one dolphin pick the jellyfish up and throw it into the air with its head.
This is not the first time that this particular playing behaviour has been observed. Dolphins of all ages have long been known to play with each other and by themselves whether it is with bubble rings or other objects such as jellyfish. In fact Sea Watch Foundation (SWF) in association with the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Marine Awareness North Wales managed to capture the dolphins playing football with jellyfish back in September 2009.
CCW video footage from 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOo4Sb_5AjE
By Louise Russell