Public Release:  Study assesses shark attacks on Atlantic spotted dolphins near the Bahamas

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IMAGE: These are photographs, taken on May 5, 2010, of an injury to a female S. frontalis, ID#087. A) Note the damage to left side and B) the uniform scars,... view more

Credit: Marine Mammal Science

A Marine Mammal Science analysis on failed shark attacks on the approximately 120 Atlantic spotted dolphins that are residents of the waters near Bimini, The Bahamas, has found that a total of 14 dolphins (15% of 92 cataloged animals) showed some sign of shark attack, and a further 15 (16%) exhibited scars that could not conclusively be classified as shark induced or not.

Of 14 the shark attacks, there was no difference in scars or wounds between the sexes, and there was no significant difference between the location of bodily scars and wounds. No shark-related injuries were observed on the head. It is assumed that sharks will have a greater success rate if the softer, ventral side of a dolphin is attacked.

"This type of scar analysis has never been completed for spotted dolphins. It gives us insight into the predation pressure these dolphins might face from sharks in the area," said lead author Dr. Kelly Melillo-Sweeting.

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