HOME
The Info List - Indus River Dolphin





The Indus river dolphin
Indus river dolphin
(Platanista gangetica minor) is a subspecies of freshwater river dolphin found in the Indus river (and its Beas and Sutlej
Sutlej
tributaries) of India
India
and Pakistan. This dolphin was the first discovered side-swimming cetacean. It is patchily distributed in five small, sub-populations that are separated by irrigation barrages.[2] The Indus dolphin does not form easily defined groups who interact. Instead, they're typically found in loose aggregations.[2] From the 1970s until 1998, the Ganges River dolphin
River dolphin
and the Indus dolphin were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species (see taxonomy below). It has been named as the national mammal of Pakistan.[3]

Contents

1 Taxonomy 2 Distribution 3 Physical Description and Diet 4 Human Interaction 5 Conservation and Status 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Taxonomy[edit]

The long jaws and deep brain pan of the Indus river dolphin
Indus river dolphin
are visible from this skull cast. From the collection of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

The species was described by two separate authors Lebeck and Roxburgh in the year 1801 and it is unclear to whom the original description should be ascribed.[4] Until the 1970s the Indus and Ganges river dolphins were regarded as a single species. The two populations are geographically separate and have not interbred for many hundreds if not thousands of years. Based on differences in skull structure, vertebrae and lipid composition scientists declared the two populations as separate species in the early 1970s.[5] In 1998 the results of these studies were questioned and the classification reverted to the pre-1970 consensus of a single species containing two subspecies until the taxonomy could be resolved using modern techniques such as molecular sequencing. The latest analyses of mitochondrial DNA of the two populations did not display the variances needed to support their classification as separate species.[6] Thus, at present, there are two subspecies recognized in the genus Platanista: Platanista gangetica minor (the Indus dolphin) and Platanista gangetica gangetica (the Ganges river dolphin).[7] Alternate names for the Indus River
Indus River
Dolphin include the Indus blind dolphin and side-swimming dolphin. Distribution[edit] The Indus river dolphin
Indus river dolphin
only occurs in the Indus River
Indus River
system.[2] These dolphins occupied about 3,400 km of the Indus River
Indus River
and the tributaries attached to it in the past.[2] But today, its only found in one fifth of this previous range.[8] Its effective range today has declined by 80% since 1870.[2] It no longer exists throughout the tributaries, and its home range is only 690 km of the river.[2] This dolphin prefers a freshwater habitat with a water depth greater than 1 meter and that have more than 700 meters squared of cross-sectional area. Today this species can only be found in the Indus River's main stem. Physical Description and Diet[edit] The Indus dolphin has the long, pointed nose characteristic of all river dolphins. The teeth are visible in both the upper and lower jaws even when the mouth is closed. The teeth of young animals are almost an inch long, thin and curved; however, as animals age the teeth undergo considerable changes and in mature adults become square, bony, flat disks. The snout thickens towards its end. The species does not have a crystalline eye lens, rendering it effectively blind, although it may still be able to detect the intensity and direction of light. Navigation and hunting are carried out using echolocation. The body is a brownish color and stocky at the middle. The species has a small triangular lump in place of a dorsal fin. The flippers and tail are thin and large in relation to the body size, which is about 2-2.2 meters in males and 2.4–2.6 meters in females. The oldest recorded animal was a 28-year-old male 199 centimeters in length.[9] Mature adult females are larger than males. Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism
is expressed after females reach about 150 cm; the female rostrum continues to grow after the male rostrum stops growing, eventually reaching approximately 20 cm longer. Calves have been observed between January and May and do not appear to stay with the mother for more than a few months. Gestation is thought to be approximately 9–10 months.The species feeds on a variety of crustaceans and fish, including prawns, carp, catfish, gobies, etc. Human Interaction[edit] The Indus river dolphin
Indus river dolphin
has been very adversely affected by human use of the river systems in the sub-continent. Entanglement in fishing nets can cause significant damage to local population numbers. Some individuals are still taken each year and their oil and meat used as a liniment, as an aphrodisiac and as bait for catfish. Irrigation has lowered water levels throughout their ranges. Poisoning of the water supply from industrial and agricultural chemicals may have also contributed to population decline. Perhaps the most significant issue is the building of dozens of dams along many rivers, causing the segregation of populations and a narrowed gene pool in which dolphins can breed. There are currently three sub-populations of Indus dolphins considered capable of long-term survival if protected.[2] Conservation and Status[edit] The Indus river dolphin
Indus river dolphin
is listed by the IUCN
IUCN
as endangered on their Red List of Threatened Species
Red List of Threatened Species
[1] and by the U.S. government National Marine Fisheries Service under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. It is the second most endangered cetacean in the world. As of 2017 it is estimated that there are only about 1,800 individuals remaining (up from 1,200 estimated in 2001).[10] There are many threats to their survival. Reckless and extensive fishing that reduces their prey availability is a large factor.[8] Also, they are sometimes accidentally entangled in the fishing nets which can cause fatalities.[8] Deforestation that occurs along the river basin is causing sedimentation which degrades the dolphin's habitat.[8] Another factor in their decline is the construction of cross-river structures such as dams and barrages. These are a problem because they cause more isolation in the already small sub-populations.[8] Lastly, human induced water pollution is a major threat factor. This pollution is usually in the form of either industrial and human waste, or agricultural run-off containing high amounts of chemical fertilizers and poisonous pesticides.[8] Studies suggest that a good understanding of this species ecology is needed in order to develop good conservation plans. Regular monitoring is also a necessity to assess the population's status and factors causing its decline.[8] There are currently a few organizations that are helping to conserve the Indus dolphin. The World Wildlife Fund(WWF) is involved in rescue missions and helping to reduce pollution in the river. In addition, WWF Pakistan
Pakistan
is assisting in educating the public. They have even arranged training courses for many institutions. Lastly, CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) prohibits the hunting and trade of many endangered species, including this one. Although these efforts are a start, the Indus River dolphin's future is still uncertain because it's not very well studied.[2] See also[edit]

South Asian river dolphin

References[edit]

^ a b Smith, B. D. & G. T. Braulik (2008). "Platanista gangetica". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 December 2008.  Database entry includes justification for why this species is endangered ^ a b c d e f g h Braulik, G.T. (2006). "Status assessment of the Indus river dolphin, Platanista gangetica minor, March–April 2001". Biological Conservation. 129 (4): 579–590. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2005.11.026.  ^ "The Official Web Gateway to Pakistan". www.pakistan.gov.pk. Archived from the original on 2016-11-28. Retrieved 2016-10-23.  ^ Kinze, C.C. (2000). "Rehabilitation of Platanista gangetica (Lebeck, 1801) as the valid scientific name of the Ganges dolphin". Zoologische Mededelingen. repository.naturalis.nl. 74: 193–203.  ^ Pilleri, G.; G. Marcuzzi & O. Pilleri (1982). "Speciation in the Platanistoidea, systematic, zoogeographical and ecological observations on recent species". Investigations on Cetacea. 14: 15–46.  ^ Braulik, G. T.; Barnett, R.; Odon, V.; Islas-Villanueva, V.; Hoelzel, A. R.; Graves, J. A. (2015). "One Species or Two? Vicariance, Lineage Divergence and Low mtDNA Diversity in Geographically Isolated Populations of South Asian River Dolphin" (PDF). Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 22 (1): 111. doi:10.1007/s10914-014-9265-6.  ^ Rice, DW (1998). Marine mammals of the world: Systematics and distribution. Society for Marine Mammalogy. ISBN 978-1891276033.  ^ a b c d e f g Khan, M.S. (2013). " Indus River
Indus River
Dolphin: The Survivor of River Beas, Punjab, India". Current Science. 104 (11): 1464–1465.  ^ Kasuya, T., 1972. Some information on the growth of the Ganges dolphin with a comment on the Indus dolphin. Sci. Rep. Whales Res. Inst., 24: 87–108 ^ "Signs of hope as population of endangered Indus River dolphin
River dolphin
jumps in Pakistan". WWF. Retrieved 2017-12-17. 

Further reading[edit]

Randall R. Reeves; Brent S. Stewart; Phillip J. Clapham; James A. Powell (2002). National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0375411410.  Smith, B. D.; G. T. Braulik & R. K. Sinha (2004). "Platanista gangetica gangetica". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 November 2008.  Smith, B. D.; G. T. Braulik & A. A. Chaudhry (2004). "Platanista gangetica minor". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 November 2008.  Blind dolphins need space to breath - The Nation (Pakistan)

External links[edit]

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Indus river dolphin

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Indus river dolphin.

Indus River
Indus River
Dolphin at US National Marine Fisheries Service

v t e

Extant Cetacea
Cetacea
species

Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Class Mammalia Infraclass Eutheria Superorder Laurasiatheria Order Cetartiodactyla Suborder Whippomorpha

Parvorder Mysticeti (Baleen whales)

Balaenidae

Balaena

Bowhead whale
Bowhead whale
(B. mysticetus)

Eubalaena (Right whales)

Southern right whale
Southern right whale
(E. australis) North Atlantic right whale
North Atlantic right whale
(E. glacialis) North Pacific right whale
North Pacific right whale
(E. japonica)

Balaenopteridae (Rorquals)

Balaenoptera

Common minke whale
Common minke whale
(B. acutorostrata) Antarctic minke whale
Antarctic minke whale
(B. bonaerensis) Sei whale
Sei whale
(B. borealis) Bryde's whale
Bryde's whale
(B. brydei) Pygmy Bryde's whale
Bryde's whale
(B. edeni) Blue whale
Blue whale
(B. musculus) Omura's whale
Omura's whale
(B. omurai) Fin whale
Fin whale
(B. physalus)

Megaptera

Humpback whale
Humpback whale
(M. novaeangliae)

Eschrichtiidae

Eschrichtius

Gray whale
Gray whale
(E. robustus)

Neobalaenidae

Caperea

Pygmy right whale
Pygmy right whale
(C. marginata)

Parvorder Odontoceti (Toothed whales) (cont. below)

Delphinidae (Oceanic dolphins)

Cephalorhynchus

Commerson's dolphin
Commerson's dolphin
(C. commersonii) Chilean dolphin
Chilean dolphin
(C. eutropia) Heaviside's dolphin
Heaviside's dolphin
(C. heavisidii) Hector's dolphin
Hector's dolphin
(C. hectori)

Delphinus

Long-beaked common dolphin
Long-beaked common dolphin
(D. capensis) Short-beaked common dolphin
Short-beaked common dolphin
(D. delphis)

Feresa

Pygmy killer whale
Pygmy killer whale
(F. attenuata)

Globicephala (Pilot whales)

Short-finned pilot whale
Short-finned pilot whale
(G. macrorhynchus) Long-finned pilot whale
Long-finned pilot whale
(G. melas)

Grampus

Risso's dolphin
Risso's dolphin
(G. griseus)

Lagenodelphis

Fraser's dolphin
Fraser's dolphin
(L. hosei)

Lagenorhynchus

Atlantic white-sided dolphin
Atlantic white-sided dolphin
(L. acutus) White-beaked dolphin
White-beaked dolphin
(L. albirostris) Peale's dolphin
Peale's dolphin
(L. australis) Hourglass dolphin
Hourglass dolphin
(L. cruciger) Pacific white-sided dolphin
Pacific white-sided dolphin
(L. obliquidens) Dusky dolphin
Dusky dolphin
(L. obscurus)

Lissodelphis ( Right whale
Right whale
dolphins)

Northern right whale dolphin
Northern right whale dolphin
(L. borealis) Southern right whale
Southern right whale
dolphin (L. peronii)

Orcaella

Irrawaddy dolphin
Irrawaddy dolphin
(O. brevirostris) Australian snubfin dolphin
Australian snubfin dolphin
(O. heinsohni)

Orcinus

Killer whale
Killer whale
(O. orca)

Peponocephala

Melon-headed whale
Melon-headed whale
(P. electra)

Pseudorca

False killer whale
False killer whale
(P. crassidens)

Sotalia

Tucuxi
Tucuxi
(S. fluviatilis) Guiana dolphin
Guiana dolphin
(S. guianensis)

Sousa

Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin
Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin
(S. chinensis) Atlantic humpback dolphin (S. teuszii)

Stenella

Pantropical spotted dolphin
Pantropical spotted dolphin
(S. attenuata) Clymene dolphin
Clymene dolphin
(S. clymene) Striped dolphin
Striped dolphin
(S. coeruleoalba) Atlantic spotted dolphin
Atlantic spotted dolphin
(S. frontalis) Spinner dolphin
Spinner dolphin
(S. longirostris)

Steno

Rough-toothed dolphin
Rough-toothed dolphin
(S. bredanensis)

Tursiops

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin
(T. aduncus) Burrunan dolphin
Burrunan dolphin
(T. australis) Common bottlenose dolphin
Common bottlenose dolphin
(T. truncatus)

Monodontidae

Delphinapterus

Beluga (D. leucas)

Monodon

Narwhal
Narwhal
(M. monoceros)

Phocoenidae

Neophocaena

Finless porpoise
Finless porpoise
(N. phocaeniodes) Narrow-ridged finless porpoise
Narrow-ridged finless porpoise
(N. asiaorientalis)

Phocoena

Spectacled porpoise
Spectacled porpoise
(P. dioptrica) Harbor porpoise (P. phocoena) Vaquita
Vaquita
(P. sinus) Burmeister's porpoise
Burmeister's porpoise
(P. spinipinnis)

Phocoenoides

Dall's porpoise
Dall's porpoise
(P. dalli)

Physeteridae

Physeter

Sperm whale
Sperm whale
(P. macrocephalus)

Kogiidae

Kogia

Pygmy sperm whale
Pygmy sperm whale
(K. breviceps) Dwarf sperm whale
Dwarf sperm whale
(K. simus)

Iniidae

Inia

Amazon river dolphin
Amazon river dolphin
(I. geoffrensis)

Lipotidae

Lipotes

Baiji
Baiji
(L. vexillifer)

Platanistidae

Platanista

Ganges and Indus River dolphin
River dolphin
(P. gangetica)

Pontoporiidae

Pontoporia

La Plata dolphin
La Plata dolphin
(P. blainvillei)

Ziphiidae (Beaked whales)

Berardius

Arnoux's beaked whale (B. arnuxii) Baird's beaked whale (B. bairdii)

Hyperoodon

Northern bottlenose whale
Northern bottlenose whale
(H. ampullatus) Southern bottlenose whale
Southern bottlenose whale
(H. planifrons)

Indopacetus

Tropical bottlenose whale
Tropical bottlenose whale
(I. pacificus)

Mesoplodon (Mesoplodont whales)

Sowerby's beaked whale
Sowerby's beaked whale
(M. bidens) Andrews' beaked whale
Andrews' beaked whale
(M. bowdoini) Hubbs' beaked whale
Hubbs' beaked whale
(M. carlhubbsi) Blainville's beaked whale
Blainville's beaked whale
(M. densirostris) Gervais' beaked whale
Gervais' beaked whale
(M. europaeus) Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale
Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale
(M. ginkgodens) Gray's beaked whale
Gray's beaked whale
(M. grayi) Hector's beaked whale
Hector's beaked whale
(M. hectori) Strap-toothed whale
Strap-toothed whale
(M. layardii) True's beaked whale
True's beaked whale
(M. mirus) Perrin's beaked whale
Perrin's beaked whale
(M. perrini) Pygmy beaked whale
Pygmy beaked whale
(M. peruvianus) Stejneger's beaked whale
Stejneger's beaked whale
(M. stejnegeri) Spade-toothed whale
Spade-toothed whale
(M. traversii)

Tasmacetus

Shepherd's beaked whale
Shepherd's beaked whale
(T. sheperdi)

Ziphius

Cuvier's beaked whale
Cuvier's beaked whale
(Z. cavirostris)

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q12967430 Fossilworks: 117087 GBIF: 6165031 iNaturalist: 147757 ITIS: 612630 IUCN: 41757 W

.