Sex differentiation based on the gular stripe in the apparently monomorphic Cape gannet

Published in: African Zoology
Volume 49, issue 1, 2014 , pages: 107–112
DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2014.11407623
Author(s): Gavin M. RishworthDepartment of Zoology, South Africa, Maëlle ConnanDepartment of Zoology, South Africa, David B. GreenDepartment of Zoology, South Africa, Pierre A. PistoriusDepartment of Zoology, South Africa


The Cape gannet, Morus capensis, has long been considered a monomorphic species despite attempts at phenotypically separating the sexes. In a further effort we here recorded morphometric measurements from genetically sexed Cape gannets. Discriminant function analysis was used to classify sexes according to these morphometric measurements. Culmen and gular stripe lengths were selected as the best discriminators, correctly classifying 65% of birds. Male Cape gannets had significantly longer culmens and gular stripes than females. We thereby provide the first evidence suggesting that the Cape gannet demonstrates some level of dimorphism. Nonetheless, morphometric criteria used to separate sexes holds limited value due to overlap in measurements between sexes.

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