[MARMAM] New Publication on Potential Hybridism between free-ranging Risso's dolphin and bottlenose dolphins off north-east Lewis.

Nicola Hodgins nicola.hodgins at whales.org
Mon Sep 1 08:27:01 PDT 2014

Dear MARMAMM'ers,

My coauthors and I are pleased to announce the recent publication of our paper: -

Potential hybridism between free-ranging Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off north-east Lewis (Hebrides, UK).

Nicola K. Hodgins, Sarah J. Dolman and Caroline Weir

The paper can be accessed at the following link -  - http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9338208&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S175526721400089X


Hybrid cetaceans have been documented to occur both in the wild and in captivity. Identifying wild hybrid individuals can be problematic in the absence of genetic techniques, but published accounts indicate that intermediate morphological characteristics are often present. Between 2010 and 2013, a land-based and boat-based study of the Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) was carried out in nearshore waters around the Eye Peninsula located on north-east Lewis, Scotland. Three atypical individuals were photographed which exhibited morphological features intermediate between Grampus and the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). These individuals were typically larger in body size than Tursiops, and had a dorsal fin shape and size consistent with Grampus. Two individuals had coloration most similar to Tursiops and the third exhibited extensive white linear scarring consistent with Grampus. The intermediate morphology was most apparent in the head shape, with all three individuals exhibiting a defined (in contrast to Grampus) but very short (compared with Tursiops) rostrum and two having an unusually steep (compared with Tursiops) forehead. On one occasion, one of the atypical individuals was observed within a mixed-species school of Grampus and Tursiops. There were four further sightings of atypical dolphins associated with Tursiops-only schools. Atypical dolphins were not recorded withinGrampus-only schools. These observations are consistent with hybridization between free-ranging Risso's and bottlenose dolphins, the first such occurrence to be documented for these species in UK waters. The context and significance of these hybridization events are unknown.

Best wishes,


[WDC - Whale and Dolphin Conservation]<http://www.whales.org>

Nicola Hodgins
Head of science and research

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