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Morphology and distribution of the spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris, rough-toothed dolphin, Stenella bredanensis and melon-headed whale, Peponocephala electra, from waters off the Sultanate of Oman
Van Waerebeek, K.; Gallagher, M.; Baldwin, R.; Papastavrou, V.; Al-Lawati, S.M. (1999). Morphology and distribution of the spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris, rough-toothed dolphin, Stenella bredanensis and melon-headed whale, Peponocephala electra, from waters off the Sultanate of Oman. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 1(2): 167-177
In: Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. International Whaling Commission: Cambridge. ISSN 1561-0713, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 243242 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Peponocephala electra (Gray, 1846) [WoRMS]; Stenella bredanensis; Stenella longirostris (Gray, 1828) [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    COLOURATION; DISTRIBUTION; INDIAN OCEAN; MELON-HEADED WHALE; MORPHOMETRICS; ROUGH-TOOTHED DOLPHIN; SPINNER DOLPHIN; STOCK IDENTITY; TAXONOMY

Authors  Top 
  • Van Waerebeek, K., more
  • Gallagher, M.
  • Baldwin, R.
  • Papastavrou, V.
  • Al-Lawati, S.M.

Abstract
    The morphology of three tropical delphinids from the Sultanate of Oman and their occurrence in the Arabian Sea are presented. Body lengths of four physically mature spinner dolphins (three males) ranged from 154-178.3cm (median 164.5cm), i.e. smaller than any known stock of spinner dolphins, except the dwarf forms from Thailand and Australia. Skulls of Oman spinner dolphins (n=10) were practically indistinguishable from those of eastern spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris orientalis) from the eastern tropical Pacific, but were considerably smaller than skulls of populations of pantropical (Stenella longirostris longirostris) and Central American spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris centroamericana). Two colour morphs (CM) were observed. The most common (CM1) has the typical tripartite pattern of the pantropical spinner dolphin. A small morph (CM2), so far seen mostly off Muscat, is characterised by a dark dorsal overlay obscuring most of the tripartite pattern and by a pinkish or white ventral field and supragenital patch. Two skulls were linked to a CM1 colour morph, the others were undetermined. It is concluded that Oman spinner dolphins should be treated as a discrete population, morphologically distinct from all known spinner dolphin subspecies. Confirmed coastal range states off the Arabian Peninsula include the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, Somalia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Egypt. The taxonomic position of the two damaged dolphin calvariae from Oman has been the issue of much debate. This paper discusses the cranial characteristics that allow positive identification as rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) and melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) respectively. The calvariae represent the first confirmed specimen records of these dolphin species for the Arabian Sea sensu lato.

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