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Biology of the Genus Cephalorhynchus.

Special Issue 9 in the same series, edited by R. L. Brownell, Jr., and G. P. Donovan, is "Biology of the Genus Cephalorhynchus," and it includes 17 contributions on the four recognized species of this widely distributed coastal delphinid of the Southern Hemisphere. The four species are: Commerson's dolphin, C. commersonii; Chilean dolphin, C. eutropia; Heaviside's dolphin, C. heavisidii; and Hector's dolphin, C. hectori. All are Southern Hemisphere species and have been poorly known and little studied, at least in part owing to their remoteness. This book, however, which updates papers given on the genus at a 1984 IWC subcommittee meeting on small cetaceans and includes other new contributions, sheds considerably more light on them.

In Section I are presented 10 papers on the abundance, biology, exploitation, distribution, and status of the Commerson's dolphin, the species with the greatest north-south range. Included is brief information on early human contact with the species and its harvest. Section 2 presents two papers on the Chilean dolphin and a single paper in Section 3 on Heaviside's dolphin corrects previous descriptions of that species, which is believed to be confined to the west coast nearshore waters of southern Africa.

An additional four papers discuss aspects of Hector's dolphin which is endemic to New Zealand waters. Again, little is known about the species, though the papers in this volume seem to indicate that it is more widely distributed and more numerous than was previously thought, although also reporting that large numbers of them are killed in gillnets.

The 344-page volume is hardbound; each paper carries its own references; there is no index. Cost in the United Kingdom is 2O.OO [pounds] plus 4 [pounds] postage; in the United States is $35.00 plus $8.00 postage; and elsewhere is 20.00 [pounds] plus 5.00 [pounds] postage. The genus itself represents a number of interesting characteristics-females are larger than males, genital coloration is sexually dimorphic; anterior edges of flippers may have peculiar serrations along the anterior edges, etc. While popular interest in such species is limited, the book is a commendable effort at presenting current knowledge about them and may perhaps generate more interest in their study and management.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
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