Post-mortem investigations on a leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea stranded along the Northern Adriatic coastline

L Poppi, A Zaccaroni, D Pasotto, G Dotto, F Marcer, D Scaravelli, S Mazzariol
2012 Diseases of Aquatic Organisms  
Leatherback sea turtles Dermochelys coriacea are regularly reported in the Mediterranean Sea but rarely reach the northern Adriatic Sea. In the summer of 2009, a well-preserved carcass of an adult female of this species was found dead along the coast of Lido di Venezia. A complete necropsy was carried out, along with evaluation of levels of tissue trace elements. The the post-mortem revealed acute severe bacterial gastroenteritis caused by Photobacterium damselae ssp. piscicida, an
more » ... agent that infected an apparently debilitated animal weakened by ingested plastic debris. High levels of heavy metals (Hg, Pb, Cd and As) found in the liver and kidneys might have contributed to the animal's demise. These findings support previous indications that marine debris is one of the major threats to marine animals, particularly for critically endangered species such as the leatherback turtle. KEY WORDS: Leatherback turtle · Photobacterium damselae ssp. piscicida · Marine debris · Adriatic Sea Resale or republication not permitted without written consent of the publisher
doi:10.3354/dao02479 pmid:22885515 fatcat:sjgedq4libdvbgvqw4zf27coku