where-is-my-pen: A really interesting wet spec…

where-is-my-pen:

A really interesting wet specimen at the Salish Sea Aquarium in
Sidney, BC. It was extracted from a deceased female harbor porpoise
found on a beach.

A hybrid between a harbour porpoise and dall’s
porpoise. The markings are very faint, but on the fetus you can see the
distinct chinstrap marking of the harbour and the large white flank
patch of the dall’s. It would have been interesting to see this animal
fully grown (and alive).

Here’s what some of them look like!

A female hybrid porpoise that was pregnant with a full-term fetus, indicating that at least some of the hybrids are fertile! (Photo: The Whale Museum)

And here’s her full-term female fetus (Photo: The Whale Museum)

There’s a lot of color variation in hybrids and some hybrids actually look so much like one of the parent species (Dall’s porpoise or harbor) that you can’t actually identify them by sight.

Here’s another example: this hybrid has the body shape of a Dall’s porpoise (and was traveling with them) but the coloration of a harbor porpoise. (Photo: Ron Bates).