Phenotypic variability within and between regional populations of Anas superciliosa (Anatidae)
|Title||Phenotypic variability within and between regional populations of Anas superciliosa (Anatidae)|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Type of Article||Full article|
|Keywords||Anas superciliosa, grey duck, lesser grey duck, Pacific black duck, phenotype, taxonomy|
Variability of face and wing pattern and of leg and bill colour, and differences in bill and wing lengths, were assessed in Anas superciliosa (Anatidae) specimens from Pacific Islands, Australia, and New Zealand regional populations. The same 3 broad face patterns and 4 wing patterns were found in all populations. Frequency distributions of face patterns, but not wing patterns, differed significantly between populations. The most common face pattern in Australia was very rare in New Zealand and uncommon in Pacific Islands. A secondary face pattern in Pacific Islands and New Zealand was absent in Australia. Australian and New Zealand ducks did not share bill colour and pattern and no legs of New Zealand birds displayed yellow/orange hues common to 35% of Australian specimens. Bill and wing lengths of Pacific Islands specimens were significantly shorter than all others while wing lengths of male specimens from northern Australia were significantly shorter than those from southern Australia and New Zealand. These differences offer emphatic support for historic subspecific differentiation of Pacific Island specimens. Historic, but now discarded, taxonomic distinction between Australian and New Zealand populations based on phenotype could be reconsidered.