Morphological identification of parasites found in the stomach contents of bycaught striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) from Turkish Eastern Mediterranean Sea coast

Işıl Aytemiz, Ayhan Dede, Erdem Danyer, Arda M. Tonay

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Istanbul University, 34320, Avcılar-Istanbul, TURKEY
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), 34820, Beykoz-Istanbul, TURKEY
Faculty of Fisheries, Istanbul University, 34470, Laleli-Istanbul, TURKEY
Department of Animal Nutrition and Nutritional Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Istanbul University, 34320, Avcılar-Istanbul, TURKEY


One of the causes for major health problems in marine mammals is parasites in their digestive systems. These parasites are common and they result in various pathological disorders such as ulceration, obstructions, gastric and intestinal bleeding in cetaceans. In Turkey there have been studies on feeding ecology of cetaceans; however there is insufficient information on parasites, including those found in stomachs. In this study, macroparasites were collected and examined from the stomach contents of six striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) bycaught during the swordfish fishing off the Turkish coastal town Fethiye in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in 2003 and 2004. All stomachs were infected by nematodes. These nematodes were preserved in 70% ethanol and examined and measured after cleaning and transparation by lactophenol. They were identified as Anisakis spp., Contraceucum spp., Pseudoterronova spp. and Steneurus minor. Different larval forms were observed. This is the first study on parasites found in the stomach contents of striped dolphins in Eastern Mediterranean. It is, however, only a preliminary one, thus more samples should be collected and examined to understand the cetacean parasites in the Turkish waters.

KeywordsStenella coeruleoalba, Eastern Mediterranean, digestive system parasite, Anisakidea


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