Marine Mammal Sci (2007)

DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2006.00077.x


There are two major color morphs, truei and dalli types, of the Dall’s porpoise and the latter includes two minor morphs. A small number of dalli types are found among truei types off the Pacific coast of Japan, where truei types normally winter. Based on differences in the patch size of dalli-type porpoises taken by the harpoon fishery, we determined that those dalli types contain both minor morphs. Although the total number of both types in the sample was similar, the proportion of the two types varied seasonally. Sex ratio, body length, and maturity rate were different among the dalli and truei types. These facts strongly suggest that these dalli types were not members of the truei-type population and were actually migrants from adjacent dalli-type populations. The definition of the subspecies Phocoenoides dalli dalli and P. d. truei as polymorphic groups is not supported, although we consider that each of the three color morphs is worthy of full subspecific status.