Lana Pađen, Maja Maurić: The mortality of cetacea (Cetacea) in Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. Original scientific student paper. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb. Zagreb. 2008.



The objectives of this study were to determine cetacean species present in the Adriatic Sea, their abundance, distribution, the period of the year (months) in which the mortality is the highest, and the sex and age of the found carcasses. We analyzed data of whales found dead in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea from October 1990 till December 2007. In this period in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea 151 dead whales were found in total (120 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), 17 striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), 9 Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus), 3 Cuvier´s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and 2 fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). This study confirmed that the only residential habitant of the Adriatic Sea is the bottlenose dolphin. The most frequent non residential whale is the striped dolphin. Some non residential specimen was found in the parts of the Adriatic where the depths are lower than the usual depths of their biotope. Mostly adult striped dolphins die in the Adriatic Sea while in the fin whales only juvenile specimens were found. The mortality of males and females is almost equal in the bottlenose and striped dolphins, while males prevale in the Risso's dolphins. Most findings of the dead bottlenose dolphins were in April and from July till November, while non residential species were found equally during all months in the year except August, September and October. Given results amplify the cognition about biology of the whales and can help the possibility of their protection.