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Central‐West Siberian‐breeding Bar‐tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica) segregate in two morphologically distinct flyway populations
Bom, R.A.; Conklin, J.R.; Verkuil, Y.I.; Alves, J.A.; de Fouw, J.; Dekinga, A.; Hassell, C.J.; Klaassen, R.H.G.; Kwarteng, A.Y.; Rakhimberdiev, E.; Rocha, A.; ten Horn, J.; Tibbitts, T.L.; Tomkovich, P.S.; Victor, R.; Piersma, T. (2022). Central‐West Siberian‐breeding Bar‐tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica) segregate in two morphologically distinct flyway populations. Ibis 164(2): 468-485.

Bijhorende data:
In: Ibis. British Ornithologists' Union/Wiley: London. ISSN 0019-1019; e-ISSN 1474-919X, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Author keywords
    conservation; genetic population structure; shorebirds; subspeciation; migration; bodysize; body shape

Auteurs  Top 
  • Bom, R.A., meer
  • Conklin, J.R.
  • Verkuil, Y.I.
  • Alves, J.A.
  • de Fouw, J., meer
  • Dekinga, A., meer
  • Hassell, C.J.
  • Klaassen, R.H.G.
  • Kwarteng, A.Y.
  • Rakhimberdiev, E., meer
  • Rocha, A.
  • ten Horn, J., meer
  • Tibbitts, T.L.
  • Tomkovich, P.S.
  • Victor, R.
  • Piersma, T., meer


    Long-distance migratory species often include multiple breeding populations, with distinct migration routes, wintering areas and annual-cycle timing. Detailed knowledge on population structure and migratory connectivity provides the basis for studies on the evolution of migration strategies and for species conservation. Currently, five subspecies of Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica have been described. However, with two apparently separate breeding and winteringareas, the taxonomic status of the subspecies L. l.  taymyrensis remains unclear. Here we compare taymyrensis Bar-tailed Godwits wintering in the Middle East and West Africa, respectively, with respect to migration behaviour, breeding area, morphology and population genetic differentation in mitochondrial DNA. By tracking 52 individuals from wintering and staging areas over multiple years, we show that Bar-tailed Godwits wintering in the Middle East bred on the northern West-Siberian Plain (n = 19), while birds from West Africa bred further east, mostly on the Taimyr Peninsula (n = 12). The two groups differed significantly in body size and shape, and also in the timing of both northward and southward migrations. However, they were not genetically differentiated, indicating that the phenotypic (i.e. geographical, morphological and phenological) differences arose either veryrecently or without current reproductive isolation. We conclude that the taymyrensis taxon consists of two distinct populations with mostly non-overlapping flyways, which warrant treatment as separate taxonomicunits. We propose to distinguish a more narrowly defined taymyrensis subspecies (i.e. the Bar-tailed Godwits wintering in West Africa and breeding on Taimyr), from a new subspecies (i.e. the birds wintering in the Middle East and breeding on the northern West-Siberian Plain).

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