The bottlenose dolphin, genus Tursiops is one of the best studied of all the Cetacea with a
minimum of two species widely recognised. Common bottlenose dolphins (T. truncatus),
are the cetacean species most frequently held in captivity and are known to hybridize with
species from at least 6 different genera. In this study, we document several intra-generic
hybridization events between T. truncatus and T. aduncus held in captivity. We demonstrate
that the F1 hybrids are fertile and can backcross producing apparently healthy offspring,
thereby showing introgressive inter-specific hybridization within the genus. We document
that female F1 hybrids can reach sexual maturity at 4 yr and 3 mo of age, and can become
pregnant and give birth before being fully weaned. The information presented has implications
for understanding hybrid reticulation among cetacean species and practical implications
for captive facilities housing either Tursiops species or hybrids thereof.
Pienaar, Ronel; Potgieter, Fred T.; Latif, Abdalla A.; Thekisoe, Oriel M.M.; Mans, Ben J. (Barend Johannes)(Cambridge University Press, 2011-09-09)
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