Museo Acatushun de Aves y Mamiferos Marinos Australes Ushuaia

Tierra del Fuego Argentina, Argentina

Museo Acatushun de Aves y Mamiferos Marinos Australes Ushuaia

Tierra del Fuego Argentina, Argentina
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Marchesi M.C.,CONICET | Mora M.S.,CONICET | Pimper L.E.,Museo Acatushun de Aves y Mamiferos Marinos Australes Ushuaia | Crespo E.A.,CONICET | Goodall R.N.P.,CONICET
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2017

Fast swimming pelagic cetacean species have osteological characteristics that promote a more stable spine in comparison to that of coastal species. The Peale's dolphin (Lagenorhynchus australis) and the hourglass dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger) have a close phylogenetic relationship and are found in coastal and pelagic waters in the Southern Hemisphere, respectively. The aim of this work was to study the relationship between the vertebral column's morphology and its flexibility, across these species of contrasting habitats. Vertebral counts and multiple measurements of each vertebra were used to infer intervertebral flexibility. Bivariate plots and discriminant multivariate analyses were employed to compare each functional region along the vertebral column. Both species displayed a regionalization of the column into three stable regions and two flexible areas, which statistically differ in the proportion of the skeleton occupied in each species. While the Peale's dolphin has rounder vertebrae, associated with higher flexibility, the hourglass dolphin has disk-shaped vertebrae and strongly inclined processes related to high stability. Although the species are closely related phylogenetically, vertebral morphology is influenced by a diverse set of ecological and behavioral factors, reflecting a high degree of vertebral plasticity within the genus. © 2017 Society for Marine Mammalogy.

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