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Isotopic variation in delphinids from the subtropical western South Atlantic

  • Silvina Botta (a1), Aleta A. Hohn (a2), Stephen A. Macko (a3) and Eduardo R. Secchi (a1)


A dual stable isotope approach (δ13C and δ15N) was used to investigate inter- and intra-specific variations in feeding ecology and habitat use of 7 delphinids from coastal/estuarine, continental shelf and offshore marine environments from southern Brazil: Tursiops sp., Orcinus orca, Stenella frontalis, Steno bredanensis, Delphinus delphis, Pseudorca crassidens and Lagenodelphis hosei. Teeth from 50 specimens acquired from stranded animals were analysed in this study. Tursiops sp. and O. orca are the most coastal species, and had the highest δ13C values followed by the continental shelf species S. frontalis, S. bredanensis and D. delphis. Lagenodelphis hosei showed the lowest δ13C value, demonstrating its typical offshore habitat. One group of P. crassidens had the lowest δ15N values, indicating their low trophic level feeding habit while two specimens of the same species showed the highest mean nitrogen isotope value. This first study on stable isotope values of delphinids from southern Brazil provides substantial new information about the trophic ecology, habitat use and feeding environments of these animals.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: S. Botta, Laboratório de Tartarugas e Mamíferos Marinhos, Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande-FURG, Cx. P. 474, Rio Grande, RS 96201-900, Brazil email:


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Isotopic variation in delphinids from the subtropical western South Atlantic

  • Silvina Botta (a1), Aleta A. Hohn (a2), Stephen A. Macko (a3) and Eduardo R. Secchi (a1)


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