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Indus and Ganges river dolphins are two different species

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    Environment
  • Published
    14th Apr, 2021

Context

The detailed analysis of South Asian river dolphins has revealed that the Indus and Ganges River dolphins belong to two separate species.

Key findings of the study

  • Parameters: The study was conducted on the body growth, skull morphology, tooth counts, coloration, and genetic makeup of the species.
  • DNA study: The study also took the DNA analysis of mitochondrial DNA.
  • The DNA sequence analysis shows that they both are quite different.

Mitochondrial DNA 

  • It is a small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria.
  • Mitochondria are found in all eukaryotic cells and which is known as the powerhouse of the cell.
  • The mitochondria, and the mitochondrial DNA, are passed from mother to offspring through the egg cell.
  • Divergence:The study shows that they both are divergent species and may have diverged around 550,000 years ago.

Indus River Dolphin

  • Location: They are found only in the lower parts of the Indus River in Pakistan and River Beas, India.
  • Characteristics: They have adapted to life in the muddy river and are functionally blind.
    • They rely on echolocation to navigate, communicate.
    • They hunt prey including prawns, catfish, and carp.

Ganges River Dolphin

  • The Ganges river dolphin (Platanistagangetica) is a freshwater species of dolphin.
  • Location:The Ganges river dolphin is found in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Bangladesh and India.
    • A few individuals of this species also survive in Nepal in the Karnali River and possibly the SaptaKosi River.
    • The species is extinct from most of its early distribution ranges.
  • Characteristics: It is essentially blind and hunts by emitting ultrasonic sounds.
    • Females are larger than males.

Conservation Status of both the species

  • It is enlisted as Endangered under IUCN.
  • International trade is prohibited under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  • It is protected under Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act.
  • It is also listed as endangered by the US government National Marine Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act.
  • The species is listed in Appendix Iand Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.