Overview

Brief Summary

Members of the extant genus, Spheniscus, are known as the banded penguins, because of the band of black coloration that runs around their bodies. The genus name literally means "wedge-shaped". The four extant species are similar in color pattern and are known as "jackass" penguins because they emit loud calls to locate each other that resemble the bray of a donkey (Stefoff, 2005).

A common coloration theme unites the extant species such as, distinct spots on their abdomens, a small vertical stripe upon their back and a small patch of lightly feathered or nude patch of skin around its eyes that has a pink or whitish coloration (Stefoff, 2005).

The genus Spheniscus, both extant and extinct, is not found anywhere along the Antarctic coasts. All but one of the extant species of Spheniscus inhabit temperate climates, which include South Africa and the southern coastal areas of Argentina and Chile. The Galápagos penguin (Spheniscus meniculus) is found on along the coasts of the Galapagos Islands and inhabits one of the most northern extents of the globe occupied by any penguin species (Stefoff, 2005).

All species of penguin within the genus Spheniscus raise their young in burrows (Stefoff, 2005).

The genus Spheniscus (banded penguins) is comprised today of four extant species: Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus), Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti), Galápagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) and the African penguin, black-footed or jackass penguin (Spheniscus demersus) (Stefoff, 2005).

The genus Spheniscus (banded penguins) also presently contains four known extinct species, which include three from the Late Miocene to the Early Pliocene (3.6 -11.6 Ma) of the central Andean coast (Spheniscus chilensis, Spheniscus megaramphus, Spheniscus urbinai) and the oldest known member of the genus is from the Middle to Late Miocene (11–13 Ma) of Cerro La Bruja, Peru (Spheniscus muizoni) (Gohlich, 2007; Ksepka & Clarke, 2010).

  • Gohlich, U. B. (2007). The oldest fossil record of the extant penguin genus Spheniscus-a new species from the Miocene of Peru. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 52(2), 285.
  • Ksepka, D. T., & Clarke, J. A. (2010). The basal penguin (Aves: Sphenisciformes) Perudyptes devriesi and a phylogenetic evaluation of the penguin fossil record. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 337(1), 1-77.
  • Stefoff, R. (2005). Penguins. 99 White Planes Road Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joseph Villari

Supplier: Joseph Villari

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Spheniscus demursus is a fairly accurate representative for the genus, Spheniscus. Adults of the species stand around 45 cm tall and weigh an average of 3.1 kg (Cooper, 1977; Stefoff, 2005).

Researchers analyzed skeletal remains and estimated body mass for all fossil penguins. The study found that fossil species ranged from 3 kg to 81 kg in total mass. The largest fossil species of penguin was approximately 2.5 times as massive as the largest extant spheniscid. The findings show that members of Spheniscus are small-sized penguins in both extant and extinct forms (Livezey, 1989).

All extant members of the genus have coloration that serves as camouflage, with a white stomach to match the bright surface of the ocean (to fool oceanic predators from below) and a black coloration on their back that serves disguise them in the water from aerial predators. A common coloration theme unites the extant species such as, distinct spots on their abdomens, a small vertical stripe upon their black and a small patch of lightly feathered or nude patch of skin around its eyes that has a pink or whitish coloration (Cooper, 1977; Stefoff, 2005).

Compared to other genera within the spheniscids, the genus Spheniscus is moderately dimorphic, with size differences between the sexes (Livezey, 1989).

  • Cooper, J. (1977). Moult of the black-footed penguin. International Zoo Yearbook, 18: 22-27.
  • Livezey, B. C. (1989). Morphometric patterns in Recent and fossil penguins (Aves, Sphenisciformes). Journal of Zoology, 219(2), 269-307.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joseph Villari

Supplier: Joseph Villari

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Diagnostic Description

Description

Size: small to medium. Plumage: black with a white line from eyebrow encircling ear coverts; underparts white; black line encirdling body from upper breast down sides of body to feet. Bare parts: pink skin around lores and eyes; feet and bill blackish.
  • Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban & K. Newman (1982). The Birds of Africa, Volume I. Academic Press, London.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 13 specimens in 2 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 7 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 0.060 - 9.650
  Nitrate (umol/L): 8.380 - 26.041
  Salinity (PPS): 32.635 - 33.891
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.231 - 7.787
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.263 - 1.689
  Silicate (umol/l): 4.322 - 23.798

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 0.060 - 9.650

Nitrate (umol/L): 8.380 - 26.041

Salinity (PPS): 32.635 - 33.891

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.231 - 7.787

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.263 - 1.689

Silicate (umol/l): 4.322 - 23.798
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

Spheniscus live between 10 to 27 years in the wild. Extinct members of the genus most likely fell within those natural lifespans (Crawford et al., 2001; Stefoff, 2005).

Members of the genus Spheniscus are coastal-dwelling predators and prey on small shoaling fish, such as anchovies (Engraulis capensis) and sardines (Sardinops sagax). Various crustaceans and cephalopods are also known to regularly fall prey to the banded penguin (Cunningham et al., 2008). 

Natural predators of the genus Spheniscus include seals, feral cats, genets, leopards, mongooses and toothed whales. Eggs and chicks are also preyed upon by gulls and ibises. They also must compete with breeding space with many pinniped (e.g., seals) species (Crawford, et al., 2001; Randall and Randall, 1990; Stefoff, 2005).

  • Stefoff, R. (2005). Penguins. 99 White Planes Road Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.
  • Crawford, R., J. David, L. Shannon, J. Kemper, N. Klages, J. Roux, L. Underhill, V. Ward, A. Williams, A. Wolfaardt. 2001. African penguins as predators and prey-coping (or not) with change. African Journal of Marine Science, 23: 435-447.
  • Cunningham, G., V. Strauss, P. Ryan. 2008. African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) can detect dimethyl sulphide, a prey-related odour. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 221: 3123-3127.
  • Randall, R., B. Randall. 1990. Cetaceans as predators of jackass penguins Spheniscus demersus: deductions based on behaviour. Marine Ornithology, 18: 9-12.
  • Wilson, R., G. La Cock, M. Wilson, F. Mollagee. 1985. Differential digestion of fish and squid in jackass penguins Spheniscus demersus. Ornis Scandinavica, 16: 77-79.
  • Wilson, R. P., & Wilson, M. P. (1990). Foraging ecology of breeding Spheniscus penguins. Penguin biology. Academic Press, San Diego, 181-206.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joseph Villari

Supplier: Joseph Villari

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Social Behavior

Extant members of the genus Spheniscus are noisy. African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) are also known by the common name "jackass penguins" because of the loud donkey-like sounds that they produce. The noise is for the distinct purpose of communication, and research has shown that there are three types of calls, the bray, the yell, and the haw. Each call is intended to communicate or serve a specific social purpose, to make contact, defend territory or attract mates, respectively. Spheniscus is a very social genus (Frost, et al., 2009; Thumser & Ficken, 1998).

  • Frost, P., W. Siegfried, A. Burger. (2009). Behavioural adaptations of the jackass penguin, Spheniscus demersus to a hot, arid environment. Journal of Zoology, 179: 165-187.
  • Thumser, N., M. Ficken. (1998). A Comparison of the Vocal Repertoires of Captive Spheniscus Penguins. Marine Ornithology, 26: 41-48.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joseph Villari

Supplier: Joseph Villari

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Feeding Behavior

Members of the genus Spheniscus are predators of small shoaling fish, including anchovies (Engraulis capensis) and sardines (Sardinops sagax). Various crustaceans and cephalopods are also known to regularly fall prey to the banded penguin.  

A recent study has shown that Spheniscus demersus has a functioning sense of smell that assists them in finding and locking onto their specific prey items. This sensory aptitude was, until recently, unknown and significantly increases what we know about their foraging efficiency (Cunningham et al., 2008). 

  • Cunningham, G., V. Strauss, P. Ryan. 2008. African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) can detect dimethyl sulphide, a prey-related odour. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 221: 3123-3127.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joseph Villari

Supplier: Joseph Villari

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:115
Specimens with Sequences:112
Specimens with Barcodes:108
Species:4
Species With Barcodes:4
Public Records:108
Public Species:4
Public BINs:1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Banded penguin

The banded penguins are the penguins of the Spheniscus genus. There are four living species of penguins known as banded penguins, and all have similar coloration. They are sometimes also known as "jack-ass penguins" due to their loud locator calls sounding similar to a donkey braying. Common traits include a band of black that runs around their bodies bordering their black dorsal coloring, black beaks with a small vertical white band, distinct spots on their bellies, and a small patch of unfeathered or thinly feathered skin around their eyes that can be either white or pink. All members of this genus lay their eggs and raise their young in burrows.[1]

Systematics[edit]

The banded penguins belong to the genus Spheniscus, which was established by Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760.[2] The word Spheniscus is the diminutive of sphẽn or sphẽnos, meaning "wedge"; this is a reference to the penguin's thin, wedge-shaped flippers.[3]

Ranges[edit]

The African, Humboldt, and Magellanic species all live in more temperate climates such as South Africa and the southern coasts of Chile and Argentina while the Galápagos penguin is native to the Galapagos Islands, making it the most northerly of all penguin species. The banded penguins are not (and apparently never were[citation needed]) Antarctic.

Species[edit]

Extant[edit]

The four extant species of banded penguins (Spheniscus) are:

ImageCommon nameBinomial name
Megallanic penguinMagellanic penguinSpheniscus magellanicus
Humboldt penguinHumboldt penguinSpheniscus humboldti
Galápagos penguinGalápagos penguinSpheniscus mendiculus
African penguinAfrican penguin, black-footed or jackass penguinSpheniscus demersus

Fossil[edit]

Fossil Spheniscus sp.

Several extinct species are known from prehistoric fossils:

The former Spheniscus predemersus is now placed in a monotypic genus Inguza.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 69. ISBN 0-06-055804-0. 
  2. ^ "ITIS Report: Spheniscus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 361. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!