Cetaceans of Central Patagonia, Argentina

Abstract: The aim of this study was to produce the first annotated checklist of cetaceans found in the coastal waters of central Patagonia, Argentina, in the Southwestern Atlantic, encompassing approximately 700 km of coastline. Personal records of sightings and strandings, personal communications with trained individuals, photographs, unpublished abstracts from meetings, scientific publications, newspaper articles, and specimen collections from academic institutions were considered. Thirteen species were reported in the area, including ten odontocetes and three mysticetes. Reports of eight species had been published previously, including Cephalorhynchus commersonii, Lagenorhynchus obscurus, L. australis, Orcinus orca, Globicephala melas, Physeter macrocephalus, Mesoplodon layardii, and Ziphius cavirostris. Five species were formally documented for the first time in this coastal area, including Grampus griseus, M. grayi, Eubalaena australis, Balaenoptera bonaerensis, and B. musculus. The number of odontocete species and the presence of three species of pinnipeds breeding or moulting on several islands (Otaria flavescens, Arctocephalus australis, and Mirounga leonina) highlight the importance of the area in terms of biodiversity of top predators and the need for the creation of a new Marine Protected Area, considering present uses and trends in coastal development.

Key Words: cetacean, Patagonia, Argentina, Southwestern Atlantic, strandings

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.32.1.2006.20

Page Numbers: 20-30

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