[MARMAM] New publication on the health of cetaceans off La Gomera (Canary Islands)

Fabian Ritter; MEER e.V. ritter at m-e-e-r.de
Thu Aug 27 11:17:35 PDT 2020

Dear fellow MARMAMers,

on behalf of the authors I am happy to inform you about the recent 
publication of a new paper on the health of cetaceans off the island of 
La Gomera (Canary Islands):

External Body Conditions in Cetaceans from La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

Gratia Kautek, Marie-Francoise Van Bressem, and Fabian Ritter

/Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology, Volume 11, Issue 2, 2019/


We report on externally visible pathological and natural conditions in 
free-ranging cetaceans off La Gomera, Canary Islands, in the period 
1995-2018. Photographic records of Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella 
frontalis), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), short-finned pilot 
whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), rough-toothed dolphins (Steno 
bredanensis), common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), Cuviers beaked whales 
(Ziphius cavirostris), Blainsvilles beaked whales (Mesoplodon 
densirostris) and Brydes whales (Balaenoptera edeni) were screened for 
the presence of pathological and natural body conditions. External 
conditions were classified according to their characteristics. A total 
of 279 individuals were found presenting skin disorders, injuries, 
emaciation, deformations or parasitism. Epidermal conditions including 
tattoo skin disease, focal skin disease, cutaneous nodules, pale skin 
patches and abnormal pigmentation were detected in 76 delphinids and 
seemed common in T. truncatus. Cases of emaciation were observed in 25 
T. truncatus and in one G. macrorhynchus in 2010 and 2014. The dorsal 
fin of 76 dolphins and whales was bent, collapsed, injured or amputated. 
Traumata of possible anthropogenic origin affected the dorsal fin, 
tailstock and head of 24 delphinids and two B. edeni. The obligate 
cetacean barnacle Xenobalanus globicipitis infested 23 individuals of 
five species. Scars and wounds attributed to Petromyzon marinus and 
Isistius sp. occurred in most species, including B. edeni. Lesions 
possibly caused by Pennella balaenoptera were seen in two T. truncatus 
and one Z. cavirostris. This study provides a preliminary insight into 
externally visible skin disorders, traumata, body conditions and 
parasites occurring in cetaceans south of La Gomera, Canary Islands. 
[JMATE 2019;11(2):4-17]

Keywords: cetaceans, skin disease, body condition, injuries, epizoa

The paper is freely available at: 

Best greetings, Fabian

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