Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1633–1638

Multiple lines of evidence for an Australasian geographic boundary in the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis): population or species divergence?

  • C. H. Frère
  • J. Seddon
  • C. Palmer
  • L. Porter
  • G. J. Parra
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-011-0242-9

Cite this article as:
Frère, C.H., Seddon, J., Palmer, C. et al. Conserv Genet (2011) 12: 1633. doi:10.1007/s10592-011-0242-9


The taxonomic status of humpback dolphins (genus Sousa, sub-family Delphininae) is unresolved. While the classification of this genus ranges from a single to three nominal species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the International Whaling Commission only recognise a ‘two-species’ taxonomy (S. teuszii in west Africa, and S. chinensis in the Indo-Pacific). Under the IUCN (2008), S. chinensis is listed as ‘near threatened’, but is only considered as a ‘migratory’ species in Australia. Taxonomic resolution of the genus Sousa is needed to define particular conservation status and develop appropriate management actions. Using phylogenetic analyses of 1,082 bp of mitochondrial and 1,916 bp of nuclear DNA, we provide multiple lines of genetic evidence for the genetic distinction of S. chinensis in China and Indonesia from S. chinensis in Australia. The separation of Australian Sousa from Sousa of Southeast Asia requires a review of their current conservation status and respective management actions.


SpeciationHumpback dolphinsSousaESUConservationPhylogenetics

Supplementary material

10592_2011_242_MOESM1_ESM.doc (85 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 85 kb)
10592_2011_242_MOESM2_ESM.doc (195 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 195 kb)
10592_2011_242_MOESM3_ESM.doc (64 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 63 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. H. Frère
    • 1
  • J. Seddon
    • 1
  • C. Palmer
    • 2
    • 3
  • L. Porter
    • 4
  • G. J. Parra
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Veterinary Sciences, University of QueenslandGattonAustralia
  2. 2.Biodiversity DivisionDepartment of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and SportPalmerstonAustralia
  3. 3.School of Environmental and Life SciencesCharles Darwin UniversityNorthern TerritoryAustralia
  4. 4.SMRU Ltd., St Andrews UniversityNorth Haugh, St Andrews, ScotlandUK
  5. 5.School of Biological Sciences, Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  6. 6.Aquatic Sciences, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)West BeachAustralia