It seems we have yet to see the end of birthing season for the dolphins that call the waters around Marco Island their home.

Today while on a survey trip with Dolphin Research Tours we spotted an adult female named Tripod with her very young calf which passengers aboard elected to call Lulu.


Lulu and Tripod

We know the calf is not much more than two weeks old because we recorded a sighting of Tripod on November 11 in which she was accompanied by two other dolphins but no calf. Another indication of the calf’s recent arrival are the vertical lines visible on her skin – crease marks that attest to her recent confinement in her mother Tripod’s uterus.


Late November is a bit later than most female dolphins give birth Southwest Florida. Long ago our research identified September and October as the heart of birthing season here, but births can and sometimes do continue through the winter months.

birthing season

This chart shows the birth months for 34 bottlenose dolphins born to 19 female residents whose range includes The Dolphin Study’s Area One centered around Big Marco Pass. The births span a 13 year period between 2006 and 2019. For more details see Birthing season in Southwest Florida see: The Dolphin Study Research Reveals Some Surprises.

One scenario that would push Lulu’s birth to Tripod later in the year would be if Tripod’s previous calf did not survive its first year. Within a few weeks of losing a dependent calf Tripod could then have become pregnant again but out of sync with the other females. Throughout 2021 Tripod has been without a calf.

Here’s hoping Lulu thrives!