Saturday, 11 October 2014

First ever evidence of two dolphin species cross breeding

For the first time proof has emerged that shrinking dolphin populations may be causing different species of dolphins to breed and create hybridised species, says Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Part of the the evidence submitted includes three photographs taken during fieldwork off Lewis, Scotland between 2010 and 2014 showing four 'atypical' dolphins with mixed morphological characteristics, suggesting that Bottlenose dolphins in the area have been mating with resident Risso’s dolphins.

The reasons behind this cross-breeding remain unknown, but the occurrence of four atypical dolphins consistent with hybridism in one small geographical region is highly unusual.

Bottlenose dolphins on the west coast of Scotland are few and far between. The "known" population is around 45 individuals off the west coast, another 10 or so off the Isle of Barra.

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