SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • spotted dolphin;
  • Stenella attenuata;
  • reproduction;
  • sexual maturity;
  • seasonality;
  • testis histology

Abstract

We estimated age at attainment of sexual maturity and examined reproductive seasonality for male spotted dolphins, Stenella attenuata, from the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Maturity was determined by histological examination of testes. Average age at sexual maturation was 14.7 yr (the mean of two readers' age estimates). Testis and epididymis weight and seminiferous tubule diameters were reliable indicators of maturity, whereas age, length and color phase were less reliable. Seasonality was determined by changes in testis and epididymis weight, relative quantity of spermatids and spermatozoa, and lumen diameter, as well as an index of testis development (weight of the right testis and epididymis divided by length of the right testis). Testis and epididymis weights and index values peaked in July and August, midway between two predicted mating seasons for the northern offshore stock, but spermatozoa levels were elevated during the predicted breeding seasons.