New Species in Emu 101 (2)

Subject: New Species in Emu 101 (2)
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 17:12:45 +1000
I received the latest issue of Emu today (vol.101,no.2) and there are
several proposals for new species in it.
Imber & Tennyson, on pages 123-27, proposes a new petrel, Pterodroma
occulta, which "is close to P.cervicalis but differs mainly in its smaller
size, relatively longer tail and entirely dark grey exposed primaries
The citation is Pterodroma occulta M.J.Imber and A.J.D.Tennyson,2001,
Emu,101(2),p.126. (collected at 14deg.27' S, 168deg.30'E.)
The suggested English name is Vanuatu Petrel.
Under Range: it states "Presumably breeds in the Banks Islands, or
elsewhere in northern Vanuatu.Has reched the northeast coast of Australia
during the probably breeding season and likely to be a transequatorial
migrant after breeding."

The other new species(splits) are contained in the paper by Wee Ming Boon,
C.H.Daugherty and G.K.Chambers, "The Norfolk Island Green Parrot and New
Caledonian Red-crowned Parakeet are distinct species."
This paper used mtDNA sequencing, based on a 2.5 kb segment of the
mitochondrial genome.  The target region is flanked by the 3' end of the
ND6 and 5' end of the 12S rRNA genes. The tRNA[superscript]Phe and
tRNA[superscript]Glu genes plus the control regions are located between the
flanking ND6 and 12S rRNA genes.
Their analysis found "that the Norfolk Island Green Parrot, previously
C.n.cooki, and New Caledonian Red-crowned Parakeet, previously
C.N.saisaetti, are highly divergent from all other members of the genus.

It is good that the uncorrected percentage sequence divergence matrix and
corrected GTR distances matrix are included.  This reveals, for example,
that the first speciment of C.cooki is 3.69%, 3.18% and 4.07% distant from
three specimens of C.n.novaezelandiae. The first specimen of C.saissetti is
8.85%,8.65% and 8.98% distant from the same three specimens.  But we see
that C.auriceps is 3.365, 3.04% and 3.55% from the same three specimens of
C.n.novaezelandiae.  In contrast, C.n.chathamensis, retained as a
subspecies of C.novaezelandiae, is 1.52%, 1.20% and 2.92%.

Curiously,the authors at the end of their abstract say of the two newly
spelit species that they "fulfil criteria for their designation as species
under the Phylogenetic Species Concept." 

But my understanding is that the touchstone of the the difference between
any form of the Biological Species Concept and the PSC is that the latter
rejects subspecies.  And since the authors,sensibly, continue to accept
chathamensis as a subspecies of C. novaezelandiae, it seems to me that
their analysis is in accordance with Mayr's Multidimensional BSC concept.

John Penhallurick 
John Penhallurick
Associate Professor John M. Penhallurick<>
Canberra, Australia
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