Body posturing or "body language" is an obvious
way in which dolphins exchange a wealth of information. Bodily
contact itself is one important way dolphins communicate fellowship.
Dolphins are tactile animals and are often observed touching
and caressing each other. Much of this physical contact is
likely to reaffirm friendly relations among individuals and
groups. Dolphins can be seen stroking or petting each other
with their pectoral fins, rostrum, and flukes. Genital contact
is prevalent among dolphins regardless of age, gender, or
Synchronous movements are another way in which dolphins reveal
solidarity. Dolphins surfacing together, turning simultaneously,
swimming in sync, and even jumping together display their
close association. This type of behavior is especially common
during courtship displays.
Aggression is often communicated by an open mouth, exaggerated
movements, jaw clapping, and inverted swimming. Agressive
posturing is frequently a prelude to biting, buting, or tail-slapping
(fluking). The number of scratches from other dolphins' teeth
(rake marks), are a tale-tell sign of an individual's fighting
Dolphins will sometimes produce sounds by slapping the surface
of the water with the pectoral fins or flukes. They will aslo
jump into the air and land on one side for a louder effect.
Such slapping and breaching may communicate an animal's location,
frame of mind, or even used as an alarm to warn against danger.