Food consumption and growth of a female dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
R. A. Kastelein, C. A. van der Elst, H. K. Tennant, P. R. Wiepkema
Zoo Biology
Inc., John Wiley & Sons
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Abstract 10.1002/1098-2361(2000)19:2<131::AID-ZOO4>3.3.CO;2-P Food consumption, body measurements, weight changes, and body temperatures of a female dusky dolphin are presented for the 13 years that she was at Sea World, Durban. Her annual food consumption increased from 1,870 kg at the age of 3 years to 2,170 kg when she was 5 years old. During her sixth year, her annual food intake increased to approximately 2,900 kg. This increase coincided with the installation of a cooling system that was used in the summer in the years thereafter. After her sixth year, her food consumption fluctuated between 2,400 and 2,800 kg per year. The dolphin’s body weight increased gradually from approximately 52 kg at the age of 2 years to approximately 66 kg at the age of 6 years. Thereafter, her weight fluctuated between 61 and 74 kg. As body weight increased, daily food consumption as a percentage of body weight decreased. In general, her food intake was above average during autumn and winter, and below average during spring and summer. The average pool water temperature fluctuated seasonally. Gastrointestinal initial passage time was measured using carmine red dye. The median passage time was 150 minutes. The average rectal temperature was 36.9°C. Zoo Biol 19:131–142, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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