The species of white-nest swiftlets (Apodidae, Collocaliini) of Malaysia and the origins of house-farm birds: Morphometric and genetic evidence

Cranbrook, E.O and Goh, Wei Lim and Lim, Chan Koon and Mustafa, Abdul Rahman (2013) The species of white-nest swiftlets (Apodidae, Collocaliini) of Malaysia and the origins of house-farm birds: Morphometric and genetic evidence. Forktail, 29. pp. 107-119. ISSN 0950-1746

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The taxonomy of South-East Asian swiftlets (Apodidae, Collocaliini) has proved challenging because of their limited variation in size and plumage colouration. Of particular interest are 'white-nest' swiftlets, whose nests, built almost entirely of hardened secretions from paired sublingual salivary glands, are valued in the edible birds'-nest trade. The natural breeding sites of white-nest swiftlets are caves or grottoes but, for over a century, there has been a progressive increase in numbers occupying man-made structures. Through most of South-East Asia there is now a developed industry, utilising sophisticated practices to attract and retain white-nest swiftlets in purpose-made buildings, known as 'house-farms'-a novel form of domestication. A review of the systematics of wild populations based on museum skins collectedin late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before the expansion of house-farms, concludes that there are two largely allopatric species of white-nest swiftlet in Malaysia, identified as Grey-rumped Swiftlet Aerodramus inexpectatus, with subspecies A. i. germani and A. i. perplexus, and Thunberg's or Brown-rumped Swiftlet Aerodramus fuciphagus, with subspecies A. f. fuciphagus and A. f. vestitus. During 2003 to 2010, house-farm swiftlets in southern Thailand, east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Java and southern East Kalimantan, Indonesia, were photographed to show variability in plumage of the rump. House-farm birds of Sarawak resembled neither of the wild species occurring naturally in the state. Tissue samples from embryos in eggs were collected for genetic studies from house-farms in Medan, Sumatra, west and east coasts of Peninsular Malaysia, and Sibu, Sarawak. Results of phylogenetic analyses, AMOVA and pairwise FST comparison based on the partial cytochrome-b sequence are presented. Of the 11 haplotypes identified, two are restricted to a wild population of Brown-rumped Swiftlets A. f. vestitus of Middle Baram, Sarawak, thereby shown to be genetically distinct from house-farm birds. One haplotype is common among all house-farm birds, two are unique to Medan, three and one to Kuantan and Endau-Rompin, respectively. The birds from Sarawak share haplotypes with all other house-farm populations in Peninsular Malaysia and Medan, Sumatra. The evidence for two clades within house-farm samples indicates that Peninsular Malaysian birds combine genetic components from north (A. inexpectatus germani) and south (A. f. fuciphagus). Sarawak house-farm birds are similar to east coast Peninsular Malaysian populations in plumage characters and genes, and apparently arrived by spontaneous immigration from Peninsular Malaysia. If hybrids have arisen among Malaysian house-farm white-nest swiftlets, they are excluded from regulation by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: birds, white-nest swiftlets, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
Faculties, Institutes, Centres > Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
Depositing User: Saman
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2017 00:55
Last Modified: 03 May 2017 01:55

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