(finally...) A gull with two mirrors, Wollongong pelagic, 25/06/2011

Subject: (finally...) A gull with two mirrors, Wollongong pelagic, 25/06/2011
From: Murray Lord <>
Date: Tue, 05 Jul 2011 00:42:14 +0000
Recently I looked at whether anyone had claimed a basis for splitting 
and New Zealand Silver Gulls.  The only thing I came across was the following.  
is from Given, A.D., Mills, J.A., Baker, A.J., 2005. Molecular evidence for 
radiation in southern hemisphere masked gulls. The Auk 122, 268–279:

"Recently diverged taxon pairs, such as L. hartlaubii-L. cirrocephalus and L. 
novaehollandiae-L. n. scopulinus, have evolved distinctive morphological 
differences despite occasional hybridization events. The latter pair are 
in Australia and New Zealand, respectively, but the two forms differ in size 
(especially in tarsus length) and in wing-feather markings. However, because 
otherwise look so similar and in the breeding season have striking red color to 
their external soft parts, they are treated merely as subspecies of L. 
novaehollandiae. Given that they clearly have independent evolutionary 
and thus qualify as phylogenetic species, we recommend formally raising each to 
full species status as L. novaehollandiae (Silver Gull of Australia and New 
Caledonia) and L. scopulinus (Red-billed Gull of New Zealand)."

Of course this isn't terribly helpful if you are considering whether they 
to be split under the biological species concept.  It merely states they 
deserve to 
be split because they have separate evolutionary histories - which is how the 
phylogenetic species concept works.

I can't help but think that if we split these two on the basis of one wing 
and a slightly different bill shape, we ought to split several hundred other 

Murray Lord


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU