Marine Biology

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 159–167 | Cite as

Genetic analysis of sympatric morphotypes of common dolphins (genus Delphinus)

  • P. E. Rosel
  • A. E. Dizon
  • J. E. Heyning


Sympatric populations of two forms of the common dolphin, currently recognized collectively as Delphinus delphis Linnaeus, occur in several areas of the world's oceans. A molecular genetic study was initiated to determine whether these forms are genetically distinct in the Northeast Pacific. We compared mitochondrial DNA sequences from the control region and cytochrome b gene between specimens of the long-beaked and the short-beaked morphotypes collected between 1986 and 1989 off the coast of southern California. Additional short-beaked specimens collected from the eastern tropical Pacific (in 1978 and 1982) and the Black Sea (in 1989) were also compared. There were no shared mitochondrial DNA haplotypes between the two morphotypes, and both gene regions exhibited frequency and fixed nucleotide substitutions between the two morphotypes. This genetic differentiation, coupled with unique morphological characters of the short-beaked and long-beaked morphotypes determined in a parallel study, indicate that although sympatric, these populations of common dolphin are reproductively isolated from one another and may represent separate species.


Nucleotide Genetic Study Genetic Differentiation Control Region Morphological Character 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. E. Rosel
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. E. Dizon
    • 2
  • J. E. Heyning
    • 3
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Southwest Fisheries Science CenterLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Section of Birds and MammalsNatural History Museum of Los Angeles CountyLos AngelesUSA

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