Mandurah Dolphin Photographed Playing with Octopus

Mandurah Dolphin Photographed Playing with Octopus

A DOLPHIN researcher took these amazing pictures of a Mandurah dolphin playing with an octopus last week.

PHD candidate Krista Nicholson, who took the photos, said she had seen dolphins take part in an “octopus toss” before, but it was unusual to get pictures.

“It’s not unheard of for dolphins to do this, but it’s not a regular occurrence” she said.

“We haven’t seen them (Mandurah dolphins) actually consume an octopus.

“But there are records from other parts of the world of dolphins playing with octopuses.”

Ms Nicholson began her research project in Mandurah this January.

She said Australia did not have a marine mammal protection act and her research would seek to change that.

Ms Nicholson said Mandurah dolphins tended to spend time in the estuary, which is different to other coastal dolphins, as they preferred the ocean.

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It was not unusual for Ms Nicholson to see groups of up to 18 individuals in the estuary.

Mandurah dolphins were also known to get stuck in river branches.

“It would be interesting to see if dolphins have foraging specialisations,” she said.

“The animals that go up the river to fish must use different food gathering skills.

“Maybe the food there is tastier?”

Part of her study will be to take the genes of Mandurah’s dolphins and see how closely they are related to the rest of WA’s dolphins.

The Mandurah dolphin plays with the octopus. Pictures: Krista Nicholson.