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Prevalence of epidermal conditions in critically endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) from the waters of Western Taiwan
Wei-Cheng Yang1, Wei-Lung Chang2, Ka-Hei Kwong1, Yi-Ting Yao1 and Lien-Siang Chou2*
1Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture, National Chiayi University, No. 580, Xinmin Rd, Chiayi, Taiwan;  2Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, No.1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd, Taipei, Taiwan
*Corresponding author:


The prevalence of epidermal conditions in a small critically endangered population (<100 individuals) of coastal Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) from the waters of western Taiwan was assessed during a photo-identification study conducted between 2006 and 2010. Of 97 individuals photographically examined, at least 37% were affected by at least one or multiple conditions. Besides, mature individuals had significantly higher prevalence than immature ones did. Five different skin condition categories were considered, including pox-like lesion, pale lesion, orange film, prolonged ulcer lesion, and nodule on body. This first study to investigate epidermal conditions on S. chinensis in the world offers data for comparison with other studies in the future and new ground for discussion on the health of these animals and the potential impact of anthropogenic activities.

Key words: Critically endangered, Epidermal conditions, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Sentinel, Sousa chinensis, Taiwan


ISSN 0253-8318 (Print)
ISSN 2074-7764 (Online)