Amazing Photos: Bottlenose Dolphin Harass and Mouth Redfish

Florida photographer captures dolphin seemingly playing with red drum.

A mature bottlenose dolphin and two smaller, probably juvenile, dolphins corral a small school of redfish.Mark Bias /

Palm Coast, Florida, photographer Mark Bias ( captured these amazing photos from a helicopter flying over the north jetty near the mouth of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville earlier this month. “They were playing with the school of redfish by taking them in their mouths and swimming a short distance and releasing them,” he says.

The frantic school of redfish takes evasive maneuvers.Mark Bias /
The redfish can’t escape an attack from below.Mark Bias /
An adult dolphin mouths a redfish.Mark Bias /
The dolphin holds the redfish and surfaces to expel air.Mark Bias /
After a short time, this dolphin actually released its redfish prize.Mark Bias /

The dolphin never actually ate any of the fish while he hovered near them. Dolphins regularly pursue and eat redfish after pushing them into the shallows to strand them on shorelines. Given the fact that young dolphins seem to be present here, this might be an example of behavioral teaching.

The photographer found a school of what appears to be redfish about 200 yards off the beach.Mark Bias /
The reds seem to be swirling, though they don’t seem to be pursued by a predator.Mark Bias /

Bias also photographed a large school of what he believed to be red drum about 200 yards offshore of Jacksonville.