Population assignment of humpback whales from the southern Mexican Pacific
Pamela Martinez-Loustalot, Oscar Guzon, Katherina Audley, Francisco Villegas, Marilia Olio, Astrid Frisch, Christian Ortega, Valentina Islas, Debbie Steel, Scott Baker, Jorge Urban R.
International Whaling Commission
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) congregate in winter in the Mexican Pacific and Central America for their breeding and breeding activities. According to NOAA, based on the results of the SPLASH project, these congregations belong to two Different Population Segments (DPS): the DPS Central America, in danger, and the DPS Mexico, threatened. Humpback whales distributed in the southeastern Mexican Pacific from Colima to Oaxaca were not considered in this division. This study focusing on analyzing the relationship of the humpback whales from southern Mexico with whales from other regions in the Mexican Pacific and Central America. Photo-identification, techniques, and analysis of their haplotypic frequencies were used. To know their movements, 7,250 individuals from 6 regions of the Mexican Pacific (BCS; Sinaloa; Nayarit-Jalisco; Colima; Guerrero and Oaxaca) were compared. The highest Recapture Index was among the whales in Colima, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. At the same time, the haplotypic frequency of 51 skin samples collected in Oaxaca (48) and Guerrero (3) was determined, which showed significant differences with the three breeding sites studied in Mexico (Baja California, Bahia de Banderas, and Revillagigedo Archipelago); and in contrast, no significant differences were observed with Central America. The photo-identification results indicate that the whales from Colima to Oaxaca belong to the same congregation, and the genetics show that these whales form the same population unit with the whales of Central America.