Insights into the distribution and ingestion of prey-like plastic fishing lures in Mediterranean rough-toothed dolphins

Ilias Foskolos*, Paraskevi Alexiadou, Niki Koutouzi, Silvia Frey, Kirsten F. Thompson, Oliver Boisseau, Alexandros Frantzis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) form an isolated subpopulation in the Mediterranean Sea that resides only in the eastern basin. Due to the paucity of records, the conservation threats these dolphins face and their ecology and distribution are poorly understood. While most observations indicate that individuals are found in two isolated clusters in the eastern basin, we hereby present five observations -three visual, one acoustic and one stranding- that possibly extend the range of this subpopulation to the entire offshore waters of the eastern basin. The stomach content remains of the stranded individual revealed a diet based on epipelagic squids and octopods. The stranded dolphin had also consumed seven plastic bags and nine squid-like plastic fishing lures, which had caused a complete gastric blockage and probably led to the stranding. High pollution loads from macroplastics in the Mediterranean Sea may evolve into a new potential threat for this subpopulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114701
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume188
ISSN0025-326X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Distribution
  • Fishing lures
  • Macroplastics
  • Mediterranean
  • Rough-toothed dolphin

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