Commentaries

Fowl play: identification and management of hybridisation between wild and domestic Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) in South Africa

  • Andrew L Walker DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • Rauri CK Bowie Evolutionary Genomics Group, Department of Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
  • Charles S Ratcliffe DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • Timothy M Crowe DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
Keywords: hybridisation, Helmeted Guineafowl

Abstract

This study investigates the possibility of hybridisation between introduced domestic Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris, derived from the West African subspecies N. m. galeata, and South African guineafowl, N. m. coronata. There is putative morphological evidence of such hybridisation in wild populations and it is known that domestic guineafowl do not survive well in the wild. Molecular analysis of the control region of mtDNA confirmed the occurrence of the domestic guineafowl haplotype in individuals present in wild populations from KwaZulu-Natal, but not in birds from populations from the Free State. Thus, despite the absence of the availability of bi-parentally inherited nuclear DNA marker, the presence of the domestic haplotype in individuals of both wild and intermediate phenotype (between wild and domestic birds) suggests that there is hybridisation in the wild between domestic and wild guineafowl. To avoid potential negative affects associated with outbreeding depression, we argue for careful control of releases of domestic guineafowl into the wild.

Ostrich 2004, 75(4): 195–198
Published
2005-02-23
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525