Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 50(1): 81-93


Biochemical and hematological profile of Otaria flavescens in the reproductive colony of Cobquecura, central-south Chile

Rodrigo R. González-Saldía1,4, Paulina A. Lincoñir4, Renato A. Quiñones2,3, M. Cristina Krautz2, Sam Catchpole2 and Wilfredo Alarcón2

1Unidad de Biotecnología Marina, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
2PPrograma de Investigación Marina de Excelencia (PIMEX), Departamento de Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
3Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research (INCAR), Universidad de Concepción, O’Higgins 1695, Concepción, Chile
4Centro de Investigación Oceanográfica del Pacífico Sur-Oriental (FONDAP-COPAS), COPAS Sur Austral, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile

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Despite the ecological importance of the common sea lion Otaria flavescens, there is currently no information available on the blood chemistry and hematology of this species. Here, we report for the first time, 14 blood chemistry variables of O. flavescens and differential blood cell counts obtained from 15 resident individuals from a reproductive colony located in Cobquecura on the coast of central-south Chile, during 2 sampling periods, in 2009 and 2011. There was a high degree of biochemical regularity in studied parameters, although the plasmatic concentration of calcium differed significantly between genders; average concentrations of total proteins, globulins, cholesterol, and cholinesterase activity varied significantly between sampling periods. In comparison with the biochemical profiles reported for other marine mammals, O. flavescens had greater concentrations of globulins; an inhibitory capacity of antiproteases (close to 100%); and moderate to low cholinesterase activity and similar concentrations of glucose. Finally, differential blood cells counts indicated moderate to high eosinophilia (8.3-17.6%) in individuals sampled during the first sampling period, which suggests the possible presence of parasitism within this population. These results could be useful for assessing the state of health of O. flavescens populations and, therefore, contribute to species conservation in the Southeast Pacific.

Key words:  Otaria flavescens, South American sea lion, blood chemistry, hematology, differential leukocyte counts