RECORDS OF ANOMALOUSLY WHITE HARBOUR PORPOISES AND ATYPICAL PIGMENTED SHORT-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHIN IN THE GEORGIAN BLACK SEA WATERS

Records of anomalously white harbour porpoises and atypical pigmented short-beaked common dolphin in the Georgian Black Sea waters

Natia Kopaliani, Zurab Gurielidze, Levan Ninua

Institute of Ecology, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, 0162, GEORGIA
Tbilisi Zoological Garden, Tbilisi, 0171, GEORGIA

Abstract

In Georgian territorial waters of the Black Sea, three leucistic harbour porpoises and one piebald short beaked common dolphin were spotted during the years 2012-2016. All images of the specimens with atypical pigmentation were collected while conducting cetacean counts near the Georgian Black Sea coast. Repeated sightings of the atypical pigmentation of small cetaceans in the Black Sea may be due to isolation and relatively low selection pressure against abnormally coloured specimens in this basin, compared to populations in the Mediterranean or Atlantic Basins.

Keywords: harbour porpoise, common dolphin, leucism, piebaldism