Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 15, 2012 Necropsy of an Ocean Sunfish in Chipman's Cove.

Our team: Tammy, Michael, Spring and Tom.
Staff of NECWA and Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay worked together to necropsy a small male ocean sunfish that had stranded on Saturday in Chipman's Cove, Wellfleet. This beautiful fish had stranded as a result of being close to shore in shallow water as the tide was going out.

Michael rigging the carcass to be weighed. 
A Wellfleet resident, Swede, had notified NECWA of this animal on Saturday, but we were not able to respond.  Swede returned to the fish to try and push it back into deeper water, but the animal had already stranded and died. NECWA staff members Krill and Tammy worked with Mass Audubon staff members Tom, Spring and Michael to necropsy the carcass in order to collect body measurements, to sex the individual and to conduct a thorough internal examination.

Michael using the chain lift to weigh the carcass .
Tammy and Michael measuring the carcass. = 
This necropsy had to be conducted on site given the size of the carcass.  Although the fish was one of the smallest that NECWA has necropsied, it still weighed over 200 pounds.  So there was no relocating this carcass to a drier, less muddy location. We had to work on the carcass where it was which was a challenge in the marsh mud.

Michael, Tom and Tammy taking measurements of the carcass. 
Spring photographing the carcass. 
Tom, Michael and Tammy measuring the dorsal fin.

Thanks to Mass Audubon staff members Tom, Spring and Michael for their assistance in relocating this carcass and helping with the necropsy.  I am so blessed to work with such amazing staff at NECWA like our very own Miss Tammy, as well as these young professionals from Mass Audubon.

Spring and Tom examining the insides of the intestine.