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Prediction from ultrasonographic measurements of the expected delivery date in two species of bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus and Tursiops aduncus)
  1. G. Lacave, DVM1,
  2. M. Eggermont, DVM2,
  3. T. Verslycke, PhD3,
  4. F. Brook, PhD4,
  5. A. Salbany, DVM5,
  6. L. Roque, DVM5 and
  7. R. Kinoshita, BVMS, MRCVS6
  1. 1 Marine Mammal Veterinary Services, Betferkerklaan 158, B-8200 Brugge, Belgium
  2. 2 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
  3. 3 Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, Ghent University, J. Plateaustraat 22, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
  4. 4 Department of Optometry and Radiography, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  5. 5 Zoomarine, Estrada Nacional 125, Km 65, Guia, 8200 Albufeira, Portugal
  6. 6 Ocean Park Corporation, Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong


Ultrasonographic measurements were made at least once a month during 14 gestations in seven Tursiops truncatus and 12 gestations in five Tursiops aduncus (bottlenosed dolphins). The 121 measurements of the fetal biparietal diameter and 139 measurements of the fetal thoracic diameter in T truncatus and the 97 measurements of the biparietal diameter and 97 measurements of the thoracic diameter in T aduncus were used to establish regression lines for the increases in the diameter of the head and thorax of the fetus with time. From these relationships an easy-to-use computer program was developed to predict the date of birth of the two species of bottlenosed dolphin, and its predictions were compared with the actual dates of birth of other calves of both species. The births occurred within the range of predicted dates, and even when only a few measurements were available, the program provided accurate predictions.

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