Acrocephalus orinus: A case of Mistaken identity

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Abstract

Recent discovery of the Large-billed Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orinus) in museums and in the wild significantly expanded our knowledge of its morphological traits and genetic variability, and revealed new data on geographical distribution of the breeding grounds, migration routes and wintering locations of this species. It is now certain that A. orinus is breeding in Central Asia; however, the precise area of distribution remains unclear. The difficulty in the further study of this species lies in the small number of known specimens, with only 13 currently available in museums, and in the relative uncertainty of the breeding area and habitat of this species. Following morphological and genetic analyses from Svensson, et al, we describe 14 new A. orinus specimens from collections of Zoological Museums of the former USSR from the territory of Central Asian states. All of these specimens were erroneously labeled as Blyth's Reed Warbler (A. dumetorum), which is thought to be a breeding species in these areas. The 14 new A. orinus specimens were collected during breeding season while most of the 85 A. dumetorum specimens from the same area were collected during the migration period. Our data indicate that the Central Asian territory previously attributed as breeding grounds of A. dumetorum is likely to constitute the breeding territory of A. orinus. This rare case of a re-description of the breeding territory of a lost species emphasizes the importance of maintenance of museum collections around the world. If the present data on the breeding grounds of A. orinus are confirmed with field observations and collections, the literature on the biology of A. dumetorum from the southern part of its range may have to be reconsidered. © 2011 Koblik et al.

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Koblik, E. A., Red’kin, Y. A., Meer, M. S., Derelle, R., Golenkina, S. A., Kondrashov, F. A., & Arkhipov, V. Y. (2011). Acrocephalus orinus: A case of Mistaken identity. PLoS ONE, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017716

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