Data from: Evaluation of body mass index (BMI) as a prognostic indicator from two rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) mass strandings in Florida
Karns, Bree; Ewing, Ruth; Schaefer, Adam (2019), Data from: Evaluation of body mass index (BMI) as a prognostic indicator from two rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) mass strandings in Florida, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pp419k6
Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) are a common mass stranding species in Florida. These large stranding events typically include a small number of sick or injured individuals and a much larger number of healthy individuals, making rapid triage essential. Little data exist on rehabilitation outcomes, and historically, successful outcomes are limited. Furthermore, very little data exist on the feeding habits and dietary needs of this species. This study compared morphology and body mass index (BMI) in two rough-toothed dolphin mass stranding events in Florida: August 2004 (n = 36) and March 2005 (n = 32). The two groups were significantly different in morphologic measurements, with age and gender adjusted intake BMI significantly (p < 0.01) different (2004 = 0.34 + 0.02; 2005 = 0.41 + 0.02) between groups. Ten animals from the 2005 had weights tracked throughout the rehabilitation process and demonstrated an initial drop in BMI followed by an increase and a plateau prior to release. When comparing initial BMI by stranding outcome, individuals that were rehabilitated and released had a significantly (p = 0.03) higher BMI than individuals who were euthanized. However, there was no difference between dolphins that died of natural causes (p = 0.56) and animals successfully rehabilitated. Analysis of BMI can be a useful marker in triage during a stranding, when resources are limited to identify individuals most likely to survive, as well as in determining the appropriate body condition for release. The data reported here can provide guidance on evaluating the nutritive status on this uncommon species that would otherwise be difficult to obtain among wild populations.