Original Paper

European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 182-187

Biological aspects of Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) recorded in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea

  • Hrvoje GomerčiAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb Email author 
  • , Martina Ðuras GomerčiAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • , Tomislav GomerčiAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • , Hrvoje LuciAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • , Merel DaleboutAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, University of AucklandBiology Department, Dalhousie University
  • , Ana GalovAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb
  • , Darinka ŠkrtiAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • , Snježana  urkoviAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • , Snježana VukoviAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb
    • , Ðuro HuberAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb

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Abstract

The paper describes two stranded ziphiids from Croatia: a subadult female (length 430 cm, body mass 610 kg) that was stranded in 2001 and an adult male (length 510 cm, body mass ∼1,000 kg) that was stranded in 2002. Both were confirmed to be Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris Cuvier, 1823) from analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences and osteological features. There are no previous records of Cuvier’s beaked whales from the Croatian part of the Adriatic. The external shape of the head of the female specimen appears to be significantly different from the heads of Cuvier’s beaked whales from other seas. The Croatian specimen exhibited embedded pieces of gravel in the gum tissue around the tip of the lower and upper jaws, which was observed for the first time in a Cuvier’s beaked whale. The presence of the female in shallow coastal waters for several weeks and her boat-positive behaviour are apparently also first records of this kind for the species. The female was found to have ingested several plastic bags which likely caused her death. These are the northernmost findings of this species in the Adriatic Sea.

Keywords

DNA identification External morphology Osteometry Behaviour