Two Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis) strand near Treasure Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
On Saturday March 3rd we received a stranding report from Treasure Cay, a settlement located in the northern part of Abaco Island.
Upon arriving at the scene we found two male Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenalla frontalis) that judging from the state of their bodies appeared to
have died sometime the night before. BMMRO researchers immediately went to work taking pictures and recording information on their size, sex, and
relative health, and noticed immediately that they were emaciated. One full necropsy was conducted on the smaller of the two animals at the stranding site but when night fell it
became necessary to transport the other dolphin back to the research station where it was kept iced and examined the next morning.
Both dolphins had the extensive spotting indicative of sexual maturity but did not have the fused spots typical of a fully grown adult dolphin.
As a result, their age was estimated to be around 12 years (Herzing 1997). We collected numerous tissue samples to be used in genetic analysis and
histopathology, and examination of their stomachs confirmed that the animals had died of starvation.
The heads of both animals were frozen and kept for examination at a later date and the rest of the
skeletons were buried in the yard to be used as aids in education or further research. The reason these animals became emaciated remains unknown, although we hope that we will
learn more after the samples are analyzed.
Herzing, Denise L. (1997). The life history of free-ranging Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis): age-classes, color phases and female reproduction.
Marine Mammal Science, 13(4): 576-595.
Article written by: Kiya Gornik, Research Assistant, BMMRO.