Mammalia (1975)

DOI: 10.1515/mamm.1975.39.4.657


This study was concerned with the taxonomy of the Finless Black Porpoise. Morphological and biometric analyses of the body and skull measurements of Pakistani, Chinese and Japanese specimens revealed that Neophocaena is a polyspecific genus subdivided into: Neophocaena phocaenoides (Cuvier 1829), Neophocaena asiaeorientalis (nobis) and Neophocaena sunameri (nobis = nomen novum for Delphinus melas Schlegel, 1841). Neophocaena is a widely distributed, neritic estuarine genus. Neophocaena phocaenoides occurs in the vicinity of salt marshes and mangroves and its distribution range is limited to warmer zones (where the annual fluctuation in surface temperatures ranges from <2-6 °C). N. sunameri and asiaeorientalis inhabit colder regions (annual fluctuation from 10-14 °C) where very few mangroves grow. The diet of Neophocaena consists of fish and octopus, although the Pakistani and Chinese animals live mainly on shrimps (in the case of N. phocaenoides, the species Penaeus merguiensis and Penaeus penicillatus, and in that of N. asiaeorientalis, Palaemon japonicus). The ecological factors liable to influence the microevolution of the Finless Black Porpoise are discussed.