Progress in Natural Science (2005)

DOI: 10.1080/10020070512331341910


Reproductive behaviors are poorly known for the Yangtze finless porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis. In this study, the parentage of an isolated Yangtze finless porpoise population inhabiting the Yangtze Tian-e-Zhou Baiji National Natural Reserve is determined by analysis of microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences, and the porpoise’s reproductive behaviors are studied. Overall 4 full parentage assignments and additional 3 single parentage assignments were determined for the population of 23 individuals. The analysis shows that their estimated reproductive cycle is shorter than that reported previously and there probably exists an overlapping between gestation and lactation period. The study also shows that the female does not show fidelity to a particular male for breeding and vice versa, the oldest males did not monopolize mating and the dominance rank could not be so strict for the porpoise society. Moreover, the porpoise’s mating pattern and relatedness among candidate parents are discussed here. These results provide important information for making guidelines of management and conservation for this protected population.