Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphin Taxonomy
An article about splitting the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin into 3 species. I was aware that some people considered there to be two species (S.chinensis and S.plumbea), but now it seems the Australian form is also different. I’m happy because I have seen all three! But what do others think on the legitimacy of this? I see that IUCN has yet to recognise even 2 species though it looks like they are heading that way.
While I frequently disagree with Dinets on species recognition and species concepts, I pretty much agree with his remarks here. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were multiple Australasian species in the “genus” (Which will soon be lumped into Delphinus probably), but I don’t think the data is there yet. I’d like more work in the contact zones, especially on morphology and genetics. This type of work was crucial to splitting the Finless porpoise, and I suspect would be revealing here.
Thanks very much to both of you for the advice. I will wait further evidence then before ticking these off! Jon
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I really don’t see any justification for a four-way split in the paper. Data sets contradict each other, and Discussion chapter makes claims not supported by the data. They claim that humped and humpless forms are sympatric in SE Asia, but they analyzed all data from this region jointly, so it’s impossible to say if this claim has any support (although this analysis would be very easy to do). Their proposed clades correspond with sampling localities, but there are huge gaps in sampling (all Australian specimens come from the southernmost part of the range, with zero specimens from N Australia or Indonesia). Genetic data could be used to justify seven PSC species as well as four, while morphological data shows five clades. Also, genetic data shows Chinese clade to be the same as Thailand clade, but morphological data shows Chinese animals to be the most distinctive (along with West African ones). It’s entirely possible that there are multiple species in Sousa, but for now I’ll keep just one in my checklist 🙂