DAO 109:81-86 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02726

NOTE
Cetacean strandings in Italy: an unusual mortality event along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast in 2013

Cristina Casalone1,*, Sandro Mazzariol2, Alessandra Pautasso1, Giovanni Di Guardo3, Fabio Di Nocera4, Giuseppe Lucifora4, Ciriaco Ligios5, Alessia Franco6, Gianluca Fichi6, Cristiano Cocumelli6, Antonella Cersini6, Annalisa Guercio7, Roberto Puleio7, Maria Goria1, Michela Podestà8, Letizia Marsili9, Gianni Pavan10, Antonio Pintore5, Esterina De Carlo4, Claudia Eleni6, Santo Caracappa7

1IZS Piemonte Liguria Valle d’Aosta, Via Bologna, 148,10154 Torino, Italy
2Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padua, Viale dell’Università 16, Agripolis, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
3Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, Piazza Aldo Moro, 45,64100 Teramo, Italy
4IZS Mezzogiorno, Via delle Calabrie 27,84132 Salerno, Italy
5IZS Sardegna, Duca degli Abruzzi 8,07100 Sassari, Italy
6IZS Lazio Toscana, Via Appia Nuova, 1411,00178 Rome, Italy
7IZS Sicilia, Via G. Marinuzzi, 9,90129 Palermo, Italy
8Vertebrate Zoology Department, Museum of Natural History of Milan, C.so Venezia 55, 20121 Milano, Italy
9Department of Earth, Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
10CIBRA, Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali, Dept. of Earth and Environment Sciences, Università di Pavia, Via Taramelli 24, 27100 Pavia, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: An unusual mortality event involving cetaceans, mainly striped dolphins Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen, 1833), occurred along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast of Italy during the first 3 mo of 2013. Based on post-mortem analyses carried out according to body condition on 66 dolphins (54% of stranded animals), several hypotheses to explain the causes of this mortality event were proposed. Although no definitive conclusions can be drawn, dolphin morbillivirus was deemed the most likely cause, although other infectious agents (including Photobacterium damselae damselae and herpesvirus) or environmental factors may also have contributed to this recent mortality event.


KEY WORDS: Cetacean · Unusual mortality event · Dolphin · Morbillivirus · Marine mammal · Stranding


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Cite this article as: Casalone C, Mazzariol S, Pautasso A, Di Guardo G and others (2014) Cetacean strandings in Italy: an unusual mortality event along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast in 2013. Dis Aquat Org 109:81-86. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02726

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