Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde (2012)

DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2012.02.002


The spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica, Lahille, 1912)is one of the cetacean species about which least is known. Most information on the biology and ecology of this species has been obtained from stranded specimens and sightings at sea. In this study, analysis of 380 bp fragment of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences (N = 50) was performed to provide a preliminary assessment of the genetic variation in spectacled porpoise specimens found stranded or by caught on the coast of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Results showed high levels of mtDNA diversity, as expected in large size and stable populations, and similar to other species of porpoises. The star-like shape phylogeny of haplotypes indicates a recent population expansion. This is the first report on the genetic variation of this species. Other lines of evidence (microsatellite loci, single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs)) are needed to improve our knowledge on the molecular biology of the spectacled porpoise.