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Issue:ISSN 1000-7083
          CN 51-1193/Q
Director:Sichuan Association for Science and Technology
Sponsored by:Sichuan Society of Zoologists; Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Foundation; Sichuan Association of Wildlife Conservation; Sichuan University
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Your Position :Home->Past Journals Catalog->2014 Vol.33 No.1

Microstructure of the Feather of Seventy-five Terrestrial Bird Species
Author of the article:WU Xinran1, ZHOU Yongwu2, CHEN Fenfen3, LUO Xu4*
Author's Workplace:(1. Graduate School, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China; 2.Nanjing Forest Police College, Nanjing 210046, China; 3. Faculty of Life Sciences, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China;4. Faculty of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China)
Key Words:avian feather microstructure; pennaceous barbules; plumulaceous barbules; species identification
Abstract:We sampled pennaceous, wing covert feathers and downy, flank feathers from 75 bird species (50 passerine and 25 non-passerine species). Feathers were collected from museum specimens and captured wild birds. Three barbs from the proximal to distal end of the wing feather were cut off. Then each barb was taken 3~4 photographs using scanning electron microscope (SEM), and a total of 9~12 photographs were taken from each pennaceous. The microstructures including hamuli, cilia, ventral teeth, and dorsal flanges were compared among species. The number of ventral teeth was the most constant pennaceous character with no significant variation between different barbs or sampled feathers, indicating that this character could be used in the identification of avian species. The total number of the hamuli and cilia was stable in 48% of the sampled species. This value could be a second indicator used for identification. Three different barbs from the flank plumulaceous feather were cut off and were taken 2~3 photographs respectively, totally 6~9 for each sampled feather. Four parameters on plumulaceous nodes were measured, three of which including internode length, node diameter, and barbule diameter could be used to separate passerine and non-passerine species according to our analysis. However, the fourth parameter, pigmentation length in downy feathers varied greatly among species and also caused some uncertainties during measuring. We suggest that the pigmentation length should be ignored in further identification attempts. In conclusion, a detailed feather microstructure database should be established before this method can be applied in avian species identification.
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