Dolphin FB79


Name: FB79, also known as Vespa

Sex: Female

Age: Born 1979

A Dolphin’s Life

Since we first identified Vespa in 1985, members of the SDRP have seen her more than 1,000 times. This dolphin’s ninth calf was born in 2016 and her second calf, Scooter, has given birth to four calves of her own. In 2021, Vespa gave birth to her 11th calf. (Check out the video clip below.)

Unfortunately, many of her calves and grandcalves have not survived.

Why? Vespa’s lineage is known for interacting with people fishing: stalking boats, bridges and piers and waiting for discarded bait and catch. It seems that Vespa has been passing bad behaviors down to her calves and grandcalves, which has led to their entanglement in fishing line, hooking, ingestion of gear and other negative interactions.

We can’t “untrain” Vespa. But we can all play a role in helping to curb bad dolphin behavior when we’re fishing by following a few simple dolphin-friendly fishing tips

A Dolphin’s Voice

A Special Note About the Audio Recording

In collaboration with numerous colleagues over the past 35 years, our dolphin communication research team has collected thousands of hours of acoustic recordings from members of the resident Sarasota bottlenose dolphin community, with a focus on individually distinctive signature whistles. Recordings have been made during periodic health assessments, when we are able to obtain high-quality recordings of known individual dolphins. We are currently in the process of systematically assembling a verified signature whistle catalog, with multiple samples from each of the approximately 1,000 unique recording sessions of almost 300 individual dolphins. Members of this collaborative team, and our student researchers, come from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, University of St. Andrews, and Hampshire College. Learn more about dolphin communication.

F199 surfacing
F199 catching a fish