Purple Swamphen – request for photos, feathers, tissue samples

OSME has received a request to publicise the following project concerning Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio. This is an interesting project which we feel deserves support. If you have any photographs, feathers or tissue samples the team would be very pleased to receive these – precise location is obviously important. See below for details of how and where to send these.

Purple Swamphens genus Porphyrio

The large, flamboyant purple swamphens (genus Porphyrio) demonstrate extraordinary dispersal capabilities, with evidence of multiple invasions that have resulted in divergences of size, colour, and other traits. Seven species of purple swamphens are currently recognized. Principal among these is the widespread purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), which occurs from Africa and the Mediterranean east to the Pacific. We are exploring the evolution of this bird to better understand the way dispersal and natural selection interact.  To do this we are seeking the support of enthusiastic birders.  What we need are tissue samples, locality information and where possible photographs to verify plumage colouration.

If you can help, please contact Steve Trewick at Massey University, New Zealand (s.trewick@massey.ac.nz). Feathers or other tissue samples from living or recently killed swamphens (e.g. collision with road vehicle) are best preserved in 95% ethanol. Failing that immediate placement in a domestic freezer in suitable ziplock back of plastic tube will preserve DNA short term while we help organised preservative and shipment. Feathers can be placed in envelopes and allowed to dry but these will need treatment before sending to New Zealand which has strict biosecurity laws.

For more information see:




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