Lacaziosis-like disease among bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus photographed in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Dis Aquat Organ. 2014 Jan 16;107(3):173-80. doi: 10.3354/dao02692.


Lacaziosis (also known as lobomycosis) is a chronic dermal disease caused by the fungal agent Lacazia loboi, which affects both humans and dolphins. Photographic data have been used to identify lacaziosis-like disease (LLD) among dolphins in the waters of North and South America, and here we report LLD in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus off the coast of Costa Rica, the first reporting in Central American waters. During the periods of 1991 to 1992 and 2010 to 2011, 3 research teams conducted separate dolphin surveys in the Pacific tropical fiord Golfo Dulce, and each documented skin lesions in the resident population of bottlenose dolphins. Photo-ID records were used to identify LLD-affected bottlenose dolphins and to assess their lesions. Findings showed between 13.2 and 16.1% of the identified dolphins exhibited lesions grossly resembling lacaziosis. By combining efforts and cross-referencing photographic data, the teams explored the presence of LLD in Golfo Dulce over a time gap of approximately 20 yr. Our findings expand the geographical range of the disease and offer insight into its longevity within a given population of dolphins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin*
  • Costa Rica
  • Lobomycosis / epidemiology
  • Lobomycosis / pathology
  • Lobomycosis / veterinary*
  • Pacific Ocean / epidemiology