In this study we (1) synthesized 65 yr of odontocete stranding data around the main Hawaiian Islands (1937–2002); (2) analyzed stranding patterns and trends over time; and (3) compared occurrence patterns based on sightings of live animals with stranding data and evaluated the compatibility of these data sets. From 1937 to 2002, 202 odontocete strandings were recorded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office. Strandings increased through time due to increased reporting effort and occurred throughout the year. The four most common of 16 species reported were Kogia spp. (18%), spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) (15%), striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) (11%), and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) (10%). The highest proportion of strandings was recorded on O‘ahu (48%), followed by Maui/Lāna‘i (24%), Kaua‘i (12%), Hawai‘i (11%), and Moloka‘i (5%). Comparison with four previously published live animal survey studies suggests that stranding records are a good indicator of species composition and yield reasonable data on the frequency of occurrence of species in the region they cover.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1