TUTICORIN: The carcasses of three dolphins were washed ashore near the Red Gate of Tuticorin Port Trust on Monday.
C.B.T. Rajagopalsamy, Professor and Head, Department of Fisheries Biology and Capture Fisheries, Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin, said that the stranded species were identified as Stenella longirostris, commonly called spinner dolphin that belong to the family of Delphinidae, and measured about 151, 153 and 180 cm in length, 70, 72 and 75 kg in weight, he added.
Further the functional teeth numbered 51 pairs of very fine, pointed teeth in each jaw, which was the characteristic feature of this species, he said.
They feed mainly on small pelagic species of fishes like sardines and squids.
The Gray’s spinner dolphin mostly has three part colour pattern such as white belly, light grey sides and dark grey cape, the Professor said.
V. K. Venkataramani, Dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute,Tuticorin, said the spinner dolphin might have entered the Tuticorin bay in search of food mainly small pelagic fishes and cephalopods.
The stranding of dolphin might be due to the failure in echo location, which was mainly carried out by a part of forehead called ‘melon,’ he said.
The forehead might have got a blow by hitting on any fishing vessel or any oceanstructures in the sea or entangled in the gill net while chasing the prey.
These dolphins come under endangered species and protected under Wildlife Protection Act, 1974, the Dean said.