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First documented at-sea records of "intermediate morph" Soft-plumaged Petrel Pterodroma mollis and clarification of polymorphism in the species


Authors

JOHN K. GRAFF1, ALAN COLLINS2 & MARTIN A. CAKE3

1 10 Melrose Crescent, Menora, Perth, Western Australia 6050, Australia (jgraff2@hotmail.com)
2 87 Falls Road, Lesmurdie, Western Australia 6076, Australia
3 Veterinary & Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia


Received 20 February 2015, accepted 21 April 2015

Date Pubished: 2015/10/15
Date Online: 2017/02/28


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Citation

GRAFF, J.K., COLLINS, A. & CAKE, M.A. 2015. First documented at-sea records of "intermediate morph" Soft-plumaged Petrel Pterodroma mollis and clarification of polymorphism in the species. Marine Ornithology 43: 161-164.


Key words: Pterodroma mollis, Procellariidae, plumage polymorphism, Indian Ocean, Western Australia


Abstract

The Soft-plumaged Petrel is a gadfly petrel that occurs widely across the southern oceans and exhibits plumage polymorphism. Pale-bellied individuals make up the vast majority of the species, while dark individuals are relatively rare. Intermediate forms are rarer still and, according to some authors, known only from museum specimens. We describe a number of at-sea records of intermediate-plumaged individuals seen off southwest Western Australia, including a previously undocumented streaked variant. Our observations indicate that plumage polymorphism within the species covers a continuous spectrum of variation between typical pale and wholly dark individuals.


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