Study assesses shark attacks on Atlantic spotted dolphins near the Bahamas

August 4, 2014
These are photographs, taken on 5 May 2010, of an injury to a female S. frontalis, ID#087. A) Note the damage to left side and B) the uniform scars, on the right, just below the damaged dorsal fin, suggesting the possibility that as many as five of the shark's teeth became embedded in the dolphin's flesh. 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 . It gives us insight into the predation pressure these dolphins might face from sharks in the area," said lead author Dr. Kelly Melillo-Sweeting.

Explore further: Ear to the ground on shark sense

More information: Melillo-Sweeting, K., Turnbull, S. D. and Guttridge, T. L. (2014), Evidence of shark attacks on Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) off Bimini, The Bahamas. Marine Mammal Science, 30: 1158–1164. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12082

Related Stories

Ear to the ground on shark sense

July 7, 2014

Research into how sharks hear is set to become the latest tactic to better understand and help prevent fatal shark attacks in Australian waters.

Dolphin food habits distinguish genetic line

May 8, 2014

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins that use sponges as hunting tools are eating different foods to those who do not and the unique behaviour could have shaped the genetic makeup of the population, according to two new studies ...

Whale shark fringe migration

July 16, 2014

At the fringe of the whale shark range, the volcanic Azore islands may play an increasing role for the north Atlantic population as sea surface temperatures rise, according to a study published July 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

Australia shark cull could snare more than 900

June 10, 2014

Australia's controversial shark cull could snare more than 900 animals over the next three years, a government review found, angering critics who said Tuesday most were caught needlessly.

Recommended for you

How Frankenstein saved humankind from probable extinction

October 28, 2016

Frankenstein as we know him, the grotesque monster that was created through a weird science experiment, is actually a nameless Creature created by scientist Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, "Frankenstein." ...

Closer look reveals tubule structure of endoplasmic reticulum

October 28, 2016

(—A team of researchers from the U.S. and the U.K. has used high-resolution imaging techniques to get a closer look at the endoplasmic reticulum (ET), a cellular organelle, and in so doing, has found that its structure ...

Computer model is 'crystal ball' for E. coli bacteria

October 28, 2016

It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, and even more so when they involve the reactions of living cells—huge numbers of genes, proteins and enzymes, embedded in complex pathways and feedback loops. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.