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Keywords:

  • systematics;
  • delphinid;
  • mitochondria1 DNA;
  • evolution;
  • cytochrome b

Abstract

Complete cytochrome b gene sequences from all but one species of delphinid plus four outgroups were analyzed using parsimony, maximum likelihood, and neighbor-joining methods. The results indicate the need for systematic revision of the family; a provisional classification is presented and compared to previous studies. Among the suggested revisions are removal of Orcinus from the Globicephalinae, placement of Grampus within the Globicephalinae, removal of all Lagenorhynchus spp. from the Delphininae, and placement of Sousa in the Delphininae. The genus Lagenorhynchus is found to be polyphyletic. L. albirostris (type species for the genus) and L. acutus are not closely related to each other or to nominal congeners. L. acutus is therefore assigned to the genus Leucopleurus. The remaining four Lagenorhynchus species are closely related to Lissodelphis and Cephalorbynchus and are placed in the genus Sagmatias. These three genera constitute the revised Lissodelphininae. Within the Delphininae, a well-supported clade includes the two species of Delphinus, Stenella clymene, S. frontalis, S. coeruleoalba, and the aduncus form of Tursiops truncatus. Accepting the monophyly of this group renders the genera Stenella and Tursiops polyphyletic. Apart from this finding, phylogenetic resolution within the Delphininae was poor, so comprehensive taxonomic revision of this group awaits further study.