Several cetacean species can be found in the Northern Adriatic, but only the bottlenose dolphin is a regular inhabitant. Nevertheless, striped dolphin, common dolphin and even fin whale ocasionally appear in the area. Several other endangered and charismatic marine vertebrate species occur in the area.

The bottlenose dolphin

The bottlenose dolphin is probably the world’s most well-known dolphin species. They have a robust body and relatively short beak. Dark on the back and lighter on the belly, their usual size in the Mediterranean is around three meters. Bottlenose dolphins are the only cetacean species inhabiting the coastal areas of the northern Adriatic.

Bottlenose dolphins are highly intelligent and very adaptable, which is what enables them to live in many different habitats, including the semi enclosed channels between the Adriatic islands.

Bottlenose dolphins have a distinct social organisation. Family ties, friendships, age categories and gender play an important role in the formation of groups. As part of their behaviour, we can ocasionaly observe displays of incredible acrobatic skills full of energy – jumping (as high as 6 m!), breaching (a jump followed by a loud splash), bow riding (swimming in the wave in front of the bow), tail-slapping (strong slaps on the surface), etc. are only a few.

The striped dolphin

Striped dolphin is a small pelagic species that occasionally appears in the northern Adriatic. Several sightings have been documented in recent years, including a sighting in the harbour of Mali Lošinj.

The common dolphin

Once the most common dolphin of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, this species is now considered regionally extinct. Still, occasionally visitors appear in the area. The last sighting was of a group of about 20-30 animals just south of Lošinj.

Monk seal

The monk seal is the most endangered mammal of Europe. the estimated number of animals still surviving in the wild is less than 350 in the Mediterranean. But, monk seals occasionally appear in the northern Adriatic. The last recorded animal was a female named Švora, that lived in the area of Istria and Kvarner during last 10 years. Švora was famous as it was not scared of people. Unfortunately, she died last year. Still, there are several new records of monk seal appearing in the area recently.

The loggerhead sea turtle

The northern Adriatic is one of the most important habitats for loggerhead sea turtles. Juvenile turtles migrate to the area after they are hatched on the beaches in Greece and Turkey. They feed during the summer and spend their winters hibernating near the bottom. As they are present in large numbers, you can see them near the surface very often, while getting warm in the sun.

The fin whale

Fin whales are the only species of baleen whales that regularly inhabit the Mediterranean Sea. They are the second largest animal in the world! They enter the Adriatic Sea mostly during the spring and summer when there is a burst in organic production and large quantities of krill – small plankton shrimps appear. Occasionally, they pass through channels between our islands before they return towards deeper parts of the open sea in the south.

The European shag

The European shag is a coastal cormorant species. One of only a few colonies along the Adriatic coast is situated on Oruda, a small islet in front of Veli Lošinj. The bird can be occasionally observed fishing along the coast or near reefs.

The Atlantic bluefin tuna

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the world’s most prized commercial fish species. Due to overfishing, large specimens of Atlantic blue fin tuna have become rare, but they can still be seen jumping in front of Lošinj.

Report your sighting! Help us protect the marine environment.

The researchers of Blue World Institute collect information on sightings of bottlenose dolphins and other interesting and rare animals. You can help them by sending your observations, pictures or videos through the Marine Partnership app for smartphones – you can download it for free for Android from GooglePlay and for iOS from AppStore