[MARMAM] Abnormal swelling in Stenella frontalis

Fabian Ritter, MEER e.V. ritter at m-e-e-r.de
Fri Oct 23 07:57:13 PDT 2009

Dear Marmamers!

*During the 2009 field season off La Gomera we encountered a large 
number of Atlantic spotted dolphins (/Stenella frontalis/), a species 
present year-round in the Canary Islands. In one of the groups, 
containing a large number of calves, we observed a young animal showing 
an *e*xtrordinarily swollen genital area. The reasons for this 
phenomenon remain unknown. Luckily, we managed to photograph the animal 
during aerial behaviours. The according images can be seen at our website:


The calf  was sighted early May 2009. It obviously was a female, 
recognisable by the very visible nipples next to the genital slit. The 
prominent swelling, however, was extraordinary. As the swellling 
affected the genital area, and no injury could be seen, we initially 
suspected a hormonal reason. And even if this was true, the question 
would remain why a young calf showed this feature.
Denise Herzing, working with Stenella frontalis in the Bahamas, was so 
kind to provode images of a normal female adult dolphin during lactation 
as a comparison. These images also can be seen at our website.


With this we would like to ask our cetologist colleagues, if anyone has 
seen something similar before, either in this or in a different species. 
Also we would like to know the (potential) reasons for this unusual 
symptom. Does anyone have an idea?


Any helpful information or comments should be directed to 
<ritter at m-e-e-r.de>

With my best greetings,


Fabian Ritter

M.E.E.R. e.V.
Bundesallee 123
D-12161 Berlin

T/F: +49-(0)30-644 97 230
e-Mail: ritter at m-e-e-r.de


The dolphins were having a great relaxed time 
and there were no major answers they wished 
to know the questions to...
(After Douglas Adams)

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