Journal article Open Access

Biology of the marine tucuxi dolphin (Sotalia fluviatilis) in south-eastern Brazil

Di Beneditto, Ana Paula Madeira; Ramos, Renata Maria Arruda

Age, growth and reproductive parameters related to the marine tucuxi are presented, as well as feeding habits and parasitism. The specimens' age ranged from zero (newborn) to 21 years for males and 0.5 to 30 years for females. In relation to the body dimension, length distributions were bell-shaped for both sexes with male marine tucuxi ranging from 86.0 to 200.0 cm in length and females from 117.5 to 198.0 cm. The body length of new-born and calves varied between 86.0 to 117.5 cm and the postnatal growth curve an asymptotic reached length of 191.0 cm. According to the relationship between age, body length and reproductive characteristics, male and female specimens were considered sexually mature when 56 years and body length 5180.0 cm and 56 years and body length 5160.0 cm, respectively. Males and females up to six years old represented around 80% of the captures, indicating a bias towards juveniles and individuals that have yet to reach sexual maturity. The youngest specimen with solid contents in the stomach was 119.0 cm in length and seven months old. The marine tucuxi feeds on neritic prey, preferentially on the teleost ¢shes Trichiurus lepturus and Porichthys porossisimus, and on the cephalopods Loligo sanpaulensis and L. plei. Back calculation of prey lengths indicated that ¢sh ranged from 1.2 to 106.9 cm and cephalopods from 3.4 to 22.2 cm. The barnacle Xenobalanus globicipitis was recorded attaching to the caudal ¢n and the helminths Braunina cordiformis, Anisakis typica, Halocercus brasiliensis and Nasitrema sp. were found in the internal organs.

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