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King Penguin subspecies (1 Viewer)

jmorlan

Hmmm. That's funny
Opus Editor
United States
Background

Clements et al. (2017) and Martinez et al. (2018) recognize two poorly defined races. Mathews (2011) described A. p. halli stating it "differs in its lighter coloration above and less blue on the under-side of the flipper, from the typical form, while the feathers of the inside on the tarsus are white; in the typical subspecies the feathers of the tarsus are blue all round, forming a collar." Subsequent analyses by Murphy (1936), Stonehouse (1960) and others show that this race cannot be upheld and the King Penguin is considered monotypic by Gill, F & D Donsker (2018); Dickinson, EC (2014); Blake (1977); and Marchant, S. & P.J. Higgins (1990). However A. p. halli was accepted by Peters (1931). Martinez et al. (2018) state that it averages smaller than nominate, a difference not discussed or noted in the original description. They make no note of the diagnostic features described by Matthews.

Questions

Where did HBW got the idea that A. p. halli differs in size? Even if it does differ in size, can a named subspecies be valid based solely on characters not mentioned in the original description?

References

Blake, E. R. 1977. Manual of neotropical birds. Volume 1. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.

Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Dickinson, EC, ed. 2014. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press

Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2018. IOC World Bird List (v8.1). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.8.1. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.

Marchant, S. & P.J. Higgins (eds) 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 1: Ratites to Ducks. Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Martínez, I., Jutglar, F. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52456 on 27 May 2018).

Mathews G. M. 1911. The birds of Australia. London, UK: Witherby

Murphy, R.C. (1936) Oceanic Birds of South America. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist.

Peters, J. L. (1931) Checklist of Birds of the World. Vol. 1. Harvard, Univ. Press.

Stonehouse, B (1960). "The King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus of South Georgia I. Breeding behaviour and development". Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey Scientific Report. 23: 1–81.
 
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mb1848

Well-known member

l_raty

laurent raty
Questions

Where did HBW got the idea that A. p. halli differs in size?
Some measurements are given in HANZAB (Marchand & Higgins 1990, which you cite; King Penguin text [here] (warning: > 25 Mb); this is also cited by Martínez 1992, the paper version of HBW, by the way). But things don't seem clear-cut at all. (E.g., birds from Crozet should be halli, thus "smaller", but they in fact seem quite large. In terms of flipper measurements, they appear larger than S Georgia birds -- these should be patagonicus -- which are themselves larger than Macquarie birds -- halli again...)

Even if it does differ in size, can a named subspecies be valid based solely on characters not mentioned in the original description?
Yes, sure, this is absolutely no problem.

(In fact, in quite a lot of cases, the names that we use for subspecies were introduced without mentioning any character differentiating the taxon from [what we now regard as] other races of the same species. This is the case, in particular, when a species was described a number of times, by different authors, based on birds from different populations -- any name made available for the species, but that has types from a population that is not the same as the oldest available name, could, should this population be deemed subspecifically distinct, be used for a subspecies.)
 

jmorlan

Hmmm. That's funny
Opus Editor
United States
Thanks Laurent. I saw those HANZAB measurements and noted as you did, that they did not map onto the supposed subspecies. Furthermore HANZAB rejected A. p. halli stating that geographic variation was "slight if any," and considering the species to be monotypic. It remains a mystery to me why or how HBW upheld A. p. halli based on HANZAB measurements when those measurements are so inconsistent. To the best of my knowledge, no other authority has found that the named subspecies can be distinguished by size. Am I missing something?
 
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mb1848

Well-known member
The HBW says "Some evidence of genetic differences between populations of Kerguelen and Crozet Is. " This refers to C. R. Voit 1987 which I would like to read.
 

l_raty

laurent raty
Viot CR. 1987. Différenciation et isolement entre populations chez le Manchot royal (Aptenodytes patagonicus) et le Manchot papou (Pygoscelis papua) des îles Crozet et Kerguelen. Ois. Rev. Fr. Ornithol., 57(3): 251-259.

I don't find it online, except in snippet view in [Google Books]. English abstract:
Differentiation and isolation between Crozet and Kerguelen populations of King (Aptenodytes patagonicus) and Gentoo (Pygoscelis papua) Penguins. — Crozet and Kerguelen populations of King Penguin show a clear genetic differentiation by electrophoresis. Morphologically, a marked differentiation exists between Crozet and Kerguelen populations both of King and Gentoo Penguins. These results are explained by the difference in temperature of the oceanic waters surrounding the archipelagoes.


You may also be interested by:
Clucas, Younger, Kao, Rogers, Handley, Miller, Jouventin, Nolan, Gharbi, Miller, Hart. 2016. Dispersal in the sub-Antarctic: king penguins show remarkably little population genetic differentiation across their range. BMC Evol. Biol., 16:211.
[open access]
 

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