11:19 21 November 2008 by Emma Young
A new, third species of bottlenose dolphin has been discovered in the waters off southern Australia. It is only the second new dolphin to be discovered in 50 years.
Luciana Möller of the Marine Mammal Research Group at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and her colleagues were studying populations of what they thought were Indo-Pacific and common bottlenoses in southern waters.
DNA analysis, though, revealed that most the animals living close to the shores of the states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania were in fact a new species, belonging to a new genus. “They look very like the Indo-Pacific species, but genetically they’re very different,” says Möller.
The team has called the new species the Southern Australian bottlenose. It is awaiting a scientific name after a formal description.