Stranding of beaked whales along the Santa Cruz province, Southern Patagonia, Argentina (1998-2019)
M.A. IÃ±Ãguez Bessega, M. Hevia, Frank Cipriano, J. Belgrano , M. Failla, C. Gasparrou, M.V. Reyes Reyes, V.P. Tossenberger and A.J. FernÃ¡ndez
A total of 37 records of beaked whales stranded in the Santa Cruz province, Argentina, were registered for the period 1895 to January 2019. These include 27 previously published records (one specimen re-identified through DNA analysis) and 10 new records. These involve at least six species in five genera. All strandings correspond to single individuals. The most frequent species found stranded were strap-toothed whales (Mesoplodon layardii, n=12), followed by Cuvierâ€™s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) with 11 records. Other species recorded were Arnouxâ€™s beaked whales (Berardius arnuxii, n=1), southern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon planifrons, n=1), Shepherdâ€™s beaked whales (Tasmacetus shepherdi, n=1), and three unidentified beaked whales. Species identities were based on skull morphology, tooth morphology and position in the jaw, morphometric measurements, and mitochondrial control region DNA was sequenced to confirm species. Due to advanced state of decomposition causes of death was not determined for most specimens, however two Cuvierâ€™s beaked whales show gas bubbles in their eyes. This study complements the information presented in Hevia et al., 2012, provides the first record of Arnouxâ€™s beaked whale for the Santa Cruz province, and reiterates the importance of the SW Atlantic for multiple beaked whale species.