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Geographical variation of body size in western Mediterranean striped dolphins

, : Geographical variation of body size in western Mediterranean striped dolphins. Zeitschrift fuer Saeugetierkunde 60(5): 257-264

The variation in maximum body size of striped dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba, was studied in various areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Animals inhabiting the southern part of the Mediterranean are larger than those inhabiting the northern fringe. Although a number of ecological factors affecting maximum body size in mammals has been identified, their role in causing the variation observed is difficult to determine because of the lack of appropriate data. However, the southern fringe is characterized by stronger seasonality and lower density of dolphins, both factors likely to favour larger maximum individual body sizes in a population. The variation observed may reflect population stratification leading to a degree of genetic isolation within the western Mediterranean Sea.


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