On September 30th, LMMN was notified that a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) had stranded alive the previous night on Litchfield Beach and was pushed back to sea. We later received a report of a dead dolphin in the same vicinity, with pictures confirming it was likely the same striped dolphin. Initial observations indicated this was a sub-adult female who appeared slightly emaciated. It was transported back to Charleston and is being kept frozen until further analysis. A full necropsy will likely be done in the next few weeks and results will be used towards an energetics study on offshore species.
The first recorded stranding of a striped dolphin in SC was in 1976 and the most recent was in 2015, with only a small number of stranding in between. Despite this, striped dolphins are one of the most abundant and widespread dolphin species in the world. They are found in deep tropical and temperate waters and prefer regions of upwelling, where deep, cold, nutrient-rich water rises towards the surface. These animals are typically seen in large groups, ranging anywhere from 25 to 100 animals. They are also known for displaying a unique behavior called roto-tailing, which is when they leap high out of the water and vigorously rotate their tail once airborne.
Thank you to Rob Young, Mackenzie Tecco, and the Sprinkels for helping transport this dolphin.