A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters

Kate Charlton-Robb, Lisa-ann Gershwin, Ross Thompson, Jeremy Austin, Kylie Owen, Stephen McKechnie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Small coastal dolphins endemic to south-eastern Australia have variously been assigned to described species Tursiops truncatus, T. aduncus or T. maugeanus; however the specific affinities of these animals is controversial and have recently been questioned. Historically ‘the southern Australian Tursiops’ was identified as unique and was formally named Tursiops maugeanus but was later synonymised with T. truncatus. Morphologically, these coastal dolphins share some characters with both aforementioned recognised Tursiops species, but they also possess unique characters not found in either. Recent mtDNA and microsatellite genetic evidence indicates deep evolutionary divergence between this dolphin and the two currently recognised Tursiops species. However, in accordance with the recommendations of the Workshop on Cetacean Systematics, and the Unified Species Concept the use of molecular evidence alone is inadequate for describing new species. Here we describe the macro-morphological, colouration and cranial characters of these animals, assess the available and new genetic data, and conclude that multiple lines of evidence clearly indicate a new species of dolphin. We demonstrate that the syntype material of T. maugeanus comprises two different species, one of which is the historical ‘southern form of Tursiops’ most similar to T. truncatus, and the other is representative of the new species and requires formal classification. These dolphins are here described as Tursiops australis sp. nov., with the common name of ‘Burrunan Dolphin’ following Australian aboriginal narrative. The recognition of T. australis sp. nov. is particularly significant given the endemism of this new species to a small geographic region of southern and south-eastern Australia, where only two small resident populations in close proximity to a major urban and agricultural centre are known, giving them a high conservation value and making them susceptible to numerous anthropogenic threats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Tursiops
Dolphins
dolphins
coastal water
Animals
Bottle-Nosed Dolphin
Water
new species
Tursiops truncatus
Mitochondrial DNA
Microsatellite Repeats
Macros
Conservation
South Australia
taxonomy
divergent evolution
common names
Names
animals
indigenous species

Cite this

Charlton-Robb, Kate ; Gershwin, Lisa-ann ; Thompson, Ross ; Austin, Jeremy ; Owen, Kylie ; McKechnie, Stephen. / A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters. In: PLoS One. 2011 ; Vol. 6. pp. 1-17.
@article{04ab35f3faeb4a3cb2b31135481cd947,
title = "A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters",
abstract = "Small coastal dolphins endemic to south-eastern Australia have variously been assigned to described species Tursiops truncatus, T. aduncus or T. maugeanus; however the specific affinities of these animals is controversial and have recently been questioned. Historically ‘the southern Australian Tursiops’ was identified as unique and was formally named Tursiops maugeanus but was later synonymised with T. truncatus. Morphologically, these coastal dolphins share some characters with both aforementioned recognised Tursiops species, but they also possess unique characters not found in either. Recent mtDNA and microsatellite genetic evidence indicates deep evolutionary divergence between this dolphin and the two currently recognised Tursiops species. However, in accordance with the recommendations of the Workshop on Cetacean Systematics, and the Unified Species Concept the use of molecular evidence alone is inadequate for describing new species. Here we describe the macro-morphological, colouration and cranial characters of these animals, assess the available and new genetic data, and conclude that multiple lines of evidence clearly indicate a new species of dolphin. We demonstrate that the syntype material of T. maugeanus comprises two different species, one of which is the historical ‘southern form of Tursiops’ most similar to T. truncatus, and the other is representative of the new species and requires formal classification. These dolphins are here described as Tursiops australis sp. nov., with the common name of ‘Burrunan Dolphin’ following Australian aboriginal narrative. The recognition of T. australis sp. nov. is particularly significant given the endemism of this new species to a small geographic region of southern and south-eastern Australia, where only two small resident populations in close proximity to a major urban and agricultural centre are known, giving them a high conservation value and making them susceptible to numerous anthropogenic threats.",
author = "Kate Charlton-Robb and Lisa-ann Gershwin and Ross Thompson and Jeremy Austin and Kylie Owen and Stephen McKechnie",
year = "2011",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0024047",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "1--17",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",

}

A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters. / Charlton-Robb, Kate; Gershwin, Lisa-ann; Thompson, Ross; Austin, Jeremy; Owen, Kylie; McKechnie, Stephen.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 6, 2011, p. 1-17.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - A New Dolphin Species, the Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., Endemic to Southern Australian Coastal Waters

AU - Charlton-Robb, Kate

AU - Gershwin, Lisa-ann

AU - Thompson, Ross

AU - Austin, Jeremy

AU - Owen, Kylie

AU - McKechnie, Stephen

PY - 2011

Y1 - 2011

N2 - Small coastal dolphins endemic to south-eastern Australia have variously been assigned to described species Tursiops truncatus, T. aduncus or T. maugeanus; however the specific affinities of these animals is controversial and have recently been questioned. Historically ‘the southern Australian Tursiops’ was identified as unique and was formally named Tursiops maugeanus but was later synonymised with T. truncatus. Morphologically, these coastal dolphins share some characters with both aforementioned recognised Tursiops species, but they also possess unique characters not found in either. Recent mtDNA and microsatellite genetic evidence indicates deep evolutionary divergence between this dolphin and the two currently recognised Tursiops species. However, in accordance with the recommendations of the Workshop on Cetacean Systematics, and the Unified Species Concept the use of molecular evidence alone is inadequate for describing new species. Here we describe the macro-morphological, colouration and cranial characters of these animals, assess the available and new genetic data, and conclude that multiple lines of evidence clearly indicate a new species of dolphin. We demonstrate that the syntype material of T. maugeanus comprises two different species, one of which is the historical ‘southern form of Tursiops’ most similar to T. truncatus, and the other is representative of the new species and requires formal classification. These dolphins are here described as Tursiops australis sp. nov., with the common name of ‘Burrunan Dolphin’ following Australian aboriginal narrative. The recognition of T. australis sp. nov. is particularly significant given the endemism of this new species to a small geographic region of southern and south-eastern Australia, where only two small resident populations in close proximity to a major urban and agricultural centre are known, giving them a high conservation value and making them susceptible to numerous anthropogenic threats.

AB - Small coastal dolphins endemic to south-eastern Australia have variously been assigned to described species Tursiops truncatus, T. aduncus or T. maugeanus; however the specific affinities of these animals is controversial and have recently been questioned. Historically ‘the southern Australian Tursiops’ was identified as unique and was formally named Tursiops maugeanus but was later synonymised with T. truncatus. Morphologically, these coastal dolphins share some characters with both aforementioned recognised Tursiops species, but they also possess unique characters not found in either. Recent mtDNA and microsatellite genetic evidence indicates deep evolutionary divergence between this dolphin and the two currently recognised Tursiops species. However, in accordance with the recommendations of the Workshop on Cetacean Systematics, and the Unified Species Concept the use of molecular evidence alone is inadequate for describing new species. Here we describe the macro-morphological, colouration and cranial characters of these animals, assess the available and new genetic data, and conclude that multiple lines of evidence clearly indicate a new species of dolphin. We demonstrate that the syntype material of T. maugeanus comprises two different species, one of which is the historical ‘southern form of Tursiops’ most similar to T. truncatus, and the other is representative of the new species and requires formal classification. These dolphins are here described as Tursiops australis sp. nov., with the common name of ‘Burrunan Dolphin’ following Australian aboriginal narrative. The recognition of T. australis sp. nov. is particularly significant given the endemism of this new species to a small geographic region of southern and south-eastern Australia, where only two small resident populations in close proximity to a major urban and agricultural centre are known, giving them a high conservation value and making them susceptible to numerous anthropogenic threats.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0024047

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0024047

M3 - Article

VL - 6

SP - 1

EP - 17

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

ER -