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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 128:1-12 (2018)  -  DOI:

Lobomycosis-like disease in common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from Belize and Mexico: bridging the gap between the Americas

Eric A. Ramos1,2,3,*, Delma N. Castelblanco-Martínez3,4, Jazmin Garcia5, Jorge Rojas Arias6, James R. Foley7, Katherina Audley8, Koen Van Waerebeek9, Marie-Françoise Van Bressem

1The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York 10016, USA
2Oceanic Society, 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, PO Box 437, Ross, California 94957, USA
3Fundación Internacional para la Naturaleza y la Sostenibilidad (FINS), Chetumal, Mexico
4Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología/Universidad de Quintana Roo, Mexico
5Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33004, USA
6El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Chetumal, Mexico
7Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), Toledo, Belize
8Whales of Guerrero Research Project, Barra de Potosi, Guerrero, Mexico
9Cetacean Conservation Medicine Group (CMED), Peruvian Centre for Cetacean Research (CEPEC), Museo de Delfines, Pucusana, Peru
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Lobomycosis and lobomycosis-like diseases (LLD) (also: paracoccidioidomycosis) are chronic cutaneous infections that affect Delphinidae in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. In the Americas, these diseases have been relatively well-described, but gaps still exist in our understanding of their distribution across the continent. Here we report on LLD affecting inshore bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from the Caribbean waters of Belize and from the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean off the southwestern coast of Mexico. Photo-identification and catalog data gathered between 1992 and 2017 for 371 and 41 individuals, respectively from Belize and Mexico, were examined for the presence of LLD. In Belize, 5 free-ranging and 1 stranded dolphin were found positive in at least 3 communities with the highest prevalence in the south. In Guerrero, Mexico, 4 inshore bottlenose dolphins sighted in 2014-2017 were affected by LLD. These data highlight the need for histological and molecular studies to confirm the etiological agent. Additionally, we document a single case of LLD in an adult Atlantic spotted dolphin Stenella frontalis in southern Belize, the first report in this species. The role of environmental and anthropogenic factors in the occurrence, severity, and epidemiology of LLD in South and Central America requires further investigation.

KEY WORDS: Lobomycosis-like disease · Tursiops truncatus · Stenella frontalis · Cutaneous diseases · Paracoccidioidomycosis · Odontocetes · Americas

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Cite this article as: Ramos EA, Castelblanco-Martínez DN, Garcia J, Rojas Arias J and others (2018) Lobomycosis-like disease in common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus from Belize and Mexico: bridging the gap between the Americas. Dis Aquat Org 128:1-12.

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