Indus Blind Dolphin

Local name: Bhulan (Urdu, Sindhi)

The specific name, minor, refers to the dolphins’ supposedly smaller size. Until the 1970s, this species was thought to be the same as the Ganges River Dolphin.The Indus River Dolphin has a long beak which thickens toward the tip, revealing the large teeth; the mouthline curves upward. The body is stocky with a rounded belly, the flippers are large and paddle-shaped, and there is a low triangular hump in place of a ‘true’ dorsal. The forehead is steep and the blowhole is on the left of the head, above the tiny, poorly-seeing eye. The tail flukes are broad in relation to the body size. Indus River Dolphins are grey-brown in colou>r, sometimes with a pinkish belly, and measure between 1.5 and 2.5m in length, weighing a maximum of 90kg.

Social Behavior

Indus River Dolphins travel either as couples or individuals. Since these dolphins do not have a crystalline eye lens they are effectively blind; all they can do is detect the direction and intensity of light. Navigation, therefore, is entirely by a sophisticated echolocation system. This blindness is one of the reasons why these dolphins swim on one side underwater, with one flipper trailing in the muddy riverbed. The physical touch gives the dolphins important information about their surroundings and helps them find food.

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