Patterns of recent marine mammal strandings along the upper Texas coast.
Jones, S.C., III.
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From October 1980 through 20 May 1987, there have been 208 stranded marine mammals reported in the Galveston region of the Texas coast. Of these, 90.4% were bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), 5% were stenellid dolphins, 2.4% were kogiid whales, and there was one each of roughtooth dolphin (Steno bredanensis), false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), and Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus). Stenellids stranded most often during April-July, and kogiid strandings usually occurred during November-January. Tursiops strongly exhibited bi-modal seasonality, with the principle peak during February-March (63.2%) and a minor peak during November-December (18.1%) with no Tursiops strandings during July or August. Virtually all age-classes of Tursiops are represented in these data. Although a wide size range exists among physically mature Tursiops, these strandings provide a clear description of size at birth and early growth of local stocks of this species. Causes and contributory factors of strandings included calf-birth, shark attack, disease, and man- induced injuries.