Wednesday, November 18, 2015

[Ornithology • 2015] Paragallinula gen. nov. • A New Genus for the Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850 (Aves, Rallidae)

Fig. 2. Lesser Moorhen Paragallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850, 
Kgomo Kgomo, South Africa, Feb. 2011 (photo by Mark Tittley).
This photograph illustrates two diagnostic character states differentiating Paragallinula from the genus Gallinula: the orange colouration on the frontal shield does not cover the entire shield, and the lack of a contrasting reddish band on the legs proximal to the ankle joint.


Molecular phylogenetic analysis has demonstrated that the genus Gallinula is not monophyletic and comprises four major lineages. A review of the nomenclature of Gallinula shows that generic names are available for three lineages but that a fourth is as yet unnamed. A new monotypic genus, Paragallinula gen. nov., is described for Lesser Moorhen (Gallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850).

Key words: Gallinules, morphology, nomenclature, Paragallinula gen. nov., phylogenetics

Class Aves Linnaeus, 1758
Order Gruiformes (Bonaparte, 1854)
Family Rallidae (Rafinesque, 1815)

Paragallinula gen. nov.

Type species: Gallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850. Monotypic.

Etymology: The generic name is derived from the Greek para (beside) and the Latin gallinula (a little hen or chicken). It denotes the resemblance of P. angulata to species of Gallinula but highlights that they are independent evolutionary lineages. The gender of the name is feminine.

Distribution: Paragallinula angulata is found in most of the African continent from Senegal and Gambia to Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

George Sangster, Juan Carlos Garcia-R and Steve A. Trewick. 2015. A New Genus for the Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850 (Aves, Rallidae). European Journal of Taxonomy.  153: 1–8. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2015.153