University Of Tasmania
153686 - Morphometric and genetic evidence for four species of gentoo penguin.pdf (953.62 kB)

Morphometric and genetic evidence for four species of gentoo penguin

Download (953.62 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:03 authored by Tyler, J, Bonfitto, MT, Clucas, GV, Reddy, S, Jane YoungerJane Younger

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.


Publication title

Ecology and Evolution










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 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.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania