[MARMAM] Post mortem evidence for bottlenose dolphin interactions with species other than harbour porpoises

Barnett, James j.barnett at vla.defra.gsi.gov.uk
Fri Jul 3 08:21:26 PDT 2009

Reports of violent interactions between bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops
truncatus) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the coastal
waters of the UK are well documented. Examination of stranded cetaceans
in south west England conducted under the collaborative UK Cetacean
Strandings Investigation Programme has also found pathology consistent
with bottlenose dolphin interaction in seven animals from four other
species since 2001, including two juvenile and two adult common dolphins
(Delphinus delphis), one juvenile pilot whale (Globicephala melas), one
juvenile Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) and one adult striped dolphin
(Stenella coeruleoalba). Although traumatic lesions recorded were often
not as severe as those found in harbour porpoises, it is probable that
the interactions did contribute to stranding and/or death in all four
juvenile animals examined.  Retrospective analysis of photographs of
stranded cetaceans also revealed rake (teeth) marks consistent with
bottlenose dolphin interaction in a stranded common dolphin as early as
1992. A number of causes have been suggested for these interactions in
UK stranded harbour porpoises and it is possible that any combination of
these factors may also be implicated in cases occurring in other
species.   The initial findings in the south west were presented as a
poster at the European Cetacean Society conference in 2009 and a number
of attendees came forward detailing similar findings in their own
strandings programmes.    Although a more detailed paper has already
been accepted for publication on the SW England cases, we would be
interested to hear from those at ECS and other colleagues
internationally who have evidence of similar interactions, potentially
with a view to production of a paper that could consider any
spatiotemporal trends in the data set and further exploration of
possible causes. 


James Barnett, Nick Davison, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Truro, UK

Paul Jepson, Rob Deaville, Institute of Zoology, London, UK

(Contact: James Barnett, e mail: j.barnett at vla.defra.gsi.gov.uk )

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