A stingray spine was found lodged in the scapula of a deceased 272 cm, male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) from South Carolina (USA) following skeletal preparation, nearly 6 mo after necropsy. No external puncture wound, internal bruising, or laceration of muscle tissue surrounding the scapula was evident during necropsy of the animal. Implantation of the spine did not appear to be related to the death of the dolphin, but probably occurred at an early age. Abnormal development of bone surrounding the spine resulted in the formation of a cavity at the wound site. Two mechanisms were considered as contributors for the cavity formation. These were the mechanical action of the spine stimulating the body's defense system for managing foreign objects, and the release of potent toxins from the spine sheath.
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Vol. 33 • No. 4