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Morphometric and genetic evidence for four species of gentoo penguin


Tyler, J and Bonfitto, MT and Clucas, GV and Reddy, S and Younger, JL, Morphometric and genetic evidence for four species of gentoo penguin, Ecology and Evolution, 10, (24) pp. 13836-13846. ISSN 2045-7758 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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2020. The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1002/ece3.6973


Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) are found across the Southern Ocean with a circumpolar distribution and notable genetic and morphological variation across their geographic range. Whether this geographic variation represents species-level diversity has yet to be investigated in an integrative taxonomic framework. Here, we show that four distinct populations of gentoo penguins (Iles Kerguelen, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and South Shetlands/Western Antarctic Peninsula) are genetically and morphologically distinct from one another. We present here a revised taxonomic treatment including formal nomenclatural changes. We suggest the designation of four species of gentoo penguin: P. papua in the Falkland Islands, P. ellsworthi in the South Shetland Islands/Western Antarctic Peninsula, P. taeniata in Iles Kerguelen, and a new gentoo species P. poncetii, described herein, in South Georgia. These findings of cryptic diversity add to many other such findings across the avian tree of life in recent years. Our results further highlight the importance of reassessing species boundaries as methodological advances are made, particularly for taxa of conservation concern. We recommend reassessment by the IUCN of each species, particularly P. taeniata and P. poncetii, which both show evidence of decline.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:new species, integrative taxonomy, Pygoscelis, Southern Ocean
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Vertebrate biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Younger, JL (Dr Jane Younger)
ID Code:153686
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-10-01
Last Modified:2022-11-28
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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