Tag Archives: bottlenose dolphins

New Dolphin Species Identified in Australia; ‘Large Sea Fish of the Porpoise Kind’

Courtesy Asia News

A newly identified dolphin species has been given the aboriginal name of ‘burrunan dolphin’, which means “large sea fish of the porpoise kind’ in several aboriginal languages.  Its scientific name is ‘Tursiops australis’.
This dolphin is not a new species in an evolutionary sense, it has been living and playing in a few limited spots along Australia’s southern coast all along – but until recently was assumed to be the familiar bottlenose dolphin (Trusiops truncatus) or the Indian bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops adunctus).
A group of scientific sleuths, by careful analysis of the morphology and tissue composition of the dolphins, recently discovered that this small population (believed to number around 150) is different enough from the other species that it deserves species recognition, and possibly genus as well – which may mean it is sufficiently different that it won’t be considered a bottlenose dolphin at all.
Because there are so few known animals, the scientists are hoping that these dolphins can be given protected status right away, while they study the ecological role this small band of dolphins plays in the ocean web.  The current assumption is that the burrunan dolphin has a different foraging pattern from the other species, thus avoiding competition with other local dolphins.