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Hybridization in bottlenose dolphins—a case study of Tursiops aduncus × T. truncatus hybrids and successful backcross hybridization events.

Gridley, T. and Elwen, S. H. and Harris, G. and Moore, D. M. and Hoelzel, A. R. and Lampen, F. (2018) 'Hybridization in bottlenose dolphins—a case study of Tursiops aduncus × T. truncatus hybrids and successful backcross hybridization events.', PLoS ONE., 13 (9). e0201722.

Abstract

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.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201722
Publisher statement:© 2018 Gridley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:20 July 2018
Date deposited:20 September 2018
Date of first online publication:12 September 2018
Date first made open access:20 September 2018

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