COASTAL BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS FROM SOUTHEASTERN AUSTRALIA ARE TURSIOPS ADUNCUS ACCORDING TO SEQUENCES OF THE MITOCHONDRIAL DNA CONTROL REGION

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Abstract

Sequence analysis of the mitochondrial DNA control region was used to clarify the taxonomic status of two coastal bottlenose dolphin populations from southeastern Australia currently classified as Tursiops truncatus. A 368-bp segment of the control region of 57 biopsy-sampled, photo-identified dolphins of Jervis Bay and Port Stephens was compared to published sequences of T. truncatus and T. aduncus from different oceanic regions. Sequence divergence between haplotypes from southeastern Australia and T. aduncus was much lower than that from T. truncatus. Analyses using two different methods of phylogenetic reconstruction unambiguously placed all haplotypes from southeastern Australia in a group composed exclusively of T. aduncus. The results strongly indicated that these two bottlenose dolphin populations belong to T. aduncus, extending the range of the species to subtropical waters of the Western South Pacific Ocean.

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