DAO 107:173-180 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02692

Lacaziosis-like disease among bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus photographed in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Brooke L. Bessesen1,*, Lenin Oviedo2, Leslie Burdett Hart3, David Herra-Miranda2, Juan Diego Pacheco-Polanco2, Lesli Baker4, Guido Saborío-Rodriguez5, Luis Bermúdez-Villapol6, Alejandro Acevedo-Gutiérrez4,7 

1Joyce Corrigan Memorial Care Center, Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, Arizona 85008, USA
2Centro de Investigación de Cetáceos de Costa Rica, Rincón, Puntarenas 60702, Costa Rica
3National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Center for Coastal Ocean Science, Hollings Marine Laboratory, Charleston, South Carolina 29412, USA
4Department of Biology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington 98225, USA
5Asociación para la Conservación y el Estudio de la Biodiversidad (ACEBIO), Casa 15, Barrio Los Abogados, Zapote, San José 10105, Costa Rica
6Centro de Investigación de Cetáceos, E/S Los Robles, La Redoma de Los Robles, Isla de Margarita, estado Nueva Esparta 6313, Venezuela
7Marine Mammal Research Program, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, Texas 77551, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Lacaziosis (also known as lobomycosis) is a chronic dermal disease caused by the fungal agent Lacazia loboi, which affects both humans and dolphins. Photographic data have been used to identify lacaziosis-like disease (LLD) among dolphins in the waters of North and South America, and here we report LLD in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus off the coast of Costa Rica, the first reporting in Central American waters. During the periods of 1991 to 1992 and 2010 to 2011, 3 research teams conducted separate dolphin surveys in the Pacific tropical fiord Golfo Dulce, and each documented skin lesions in the resident population of bottlenose dolphins. Photo-ID records were used to identify LLD-affected bottlenose dolphins and to assess their lesions. Findings showed between 13.2 and 16.1% of the identified dolphins exhibited lesions grossly resembling lacaziosis. By combining efforts and cross-referencing photographic data, the teams explored the presence of LLD in Golfo Dulce over a time gap of approximately 20 yr. Our findings expand the geographical range of the disease and offer insight into its longevity within a given population of dolphins.


KEY WORDS: Skin lesions · Cetaceans · Lacazia loboi · LLD · Eastern Pacific · Central America


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Cite this article as: Bessesen BL, Oviedo L, Burdett Hart L, Herra-Miranda D and others (2014) Lacaziosis-like disease among bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus photographed in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Dis Aquat Org 107:173-180. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02692

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