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African Zoology

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First confirmed records of Clymene dolphin, Stenella clymene (Gray, 1850), from Angola and Congo, South-East Atlantic Ocean

Caroline R. Weir

Abstract


Clymene dolphins, Stenella clymene, are endemic to the tropical and subtropical  Atlantic Ocean, where their occurrence is documented from fewer than 200 records. The species is particularly poorly known in the eastern Atlantic off the coast of  Africa where only 12 verified records exist, predominantly comprising dead animals. Marine mammal survey work was carried out off central West Africa during 2004 and 2005, producing two new observations of freeranging Clymene dolphins. Both  sightings occurred in deep-water (466 and 684 m) over the shelf edge, off northern Angola and Congo respectively. A pod of 250 Clymene dolphins was observed off  Congo, while the  Angola sighting was of a mixed-species group of 12 Clymene dolphins with common  dolphins, Delphinus sp. These records represent the first confirmed presence of Clymene dolphins off Angola and Congo, and extend the known southern limit of the confirmed distribution range of this species in the South-East Atlantic to 06°26’S.

Key words: Clymene dolphin, Stenella clymene, Angola, Congo, Africa.




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