Diomedea exulans Linnaeus,1758 is determinable

Subject: Diomedea exulans Linnaeus,1758 is determinable
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 14:23:15 +1000
Re my speculation the other day that, on the basis of Medway's discussion
of the type of Diomedea exulans Linnaeus 1758, that the name was
indeterminable.  Many thanks to Chris Robertson of NZ for a long (and
expensive for him ) phone call. I believe he is correct in equating
Linnaeus's type (= the bird described by Edwards) with a bird from Tristan
da Cuna or Gough Island, the race or species corrently called dabbenena
Mathews,1929.  Edwards' wing measurements fit this shortwinged taxon much
better than chionoptera of the higher latitudes.  And it is much harder to
be confident about the length of Edwards's culmen. The uncertain factor is
that the Albatross population that used to breed on Tristan became extinct
a century ago, and we can't tell whether this was the same species\race as
the form still living on Gough I.  Apart from this, we can confidently
equate Edwards' and Linnaeus's birds with the smaller, short-winged taxon
that breeds on Gough I.  This also makes sense in terms of the geography of
the early voyages that first collected albatrosses.  So we have exulans in
On Gough I. (with dabbenena as a junior synonym); chionoptera on all the
high altitude breeding sites, antipodensis and gibsoni on subantarctic NZ
islands, and amsterdamensis from the Indian Ocean. This treatment of
exulans and chionoptera corresponds to what is in HANZAB, by the way.
John Penhallurick
Associate Professor John M. Penhallurick<>
Canberra, Australia
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