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8th May 2019, 20:08

Bottlenose common dolphin hybrid discovered in the Bay of Gibraltar; first of its kind, according to researchers

The first case of hybridisation between a bottlenose and short-beaked common dolphin has been discovered in the Bay of Gibraltar, according to researchers aboard the Dolphin Adventure boat.

Female bottlenose dolphin Billie was first spotted swimming with common dolphins in the Strait back in 2006, when she was a young calf. Researchers discovered she had seemingly been adopted by Common Dolphins - two species that tend to avoid each other. Ten years later, she was sighted with a newborn dolphin.

Following ten months of studying the pair, marine biologist Rocio Espada concluded the calf's unique features proved it was a bottlenose-common hybrid.

The research has been published by science journal Plus One, and claims this is the first ever case of hybridisation between these species, in captivity and in the wild.

GBC's Shelina Assomull spoke to Rocio Espada about the calf and her research on it.