Manuherikia duck

Manuherikia lacustrina Worthy, Tennyson, Jones, McNamara & Douglas, 2007

Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

 
 
 
Manuherikia duck. Holotype (left humerus). Specimen registration no. S.042307; image no. MA_I061823. Bed HH1a, Manuherikia River, St Bathans, March 2003. Image © Te Papa See Te Papa website: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?irn=690434&term=S.042307

Manuherikia duck. Holotype (left humerus). Specimen registration no. S.042307; image no. MA_I061823. Bed HH1a, Manuherikia River, St Bathans, March 2003. Image © Te Papa See Te Papa website: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?irn=690434&term=S.042307

Duck bones are the most common fossil bones in the St Bathans Fauna, with most of them referable to three species in the endemic genus Manuherikia. The genus is named after the region in central Otago, and the name is also used for the geological formation from which the fossils are derived. Manuherikia is placed in the subfamily Oxyurinae (stiff-tailed ducks).

The St Bathans Fauna waterfowl species (5 ducks, a shelduck and an unnamed goose) have mainly been defined based on the size and form of their humeri (upper wing bones). The most abundant bird species in the deposits is the Manuherikia duck, with 551 specimens (minimum 79 individuals) identified. 

The Manuherikia duck was described from 40 humeri and 13 other bones likely to be of the same species, all from 19-16 million-year-old (Early Miocene) lake-bed deposits near the Manuherikia River, St Bathans, central Otago. The holotype (NMNZ S.042307, a complete left humerus), three paratypes and all associated material are held at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The species name reflects the fact that the bird lived in a lake.

The Manuherikia duck was a specialist diving duck a bit smaller than an Australasian shoveler. Large salt glands show that it was capable of living in saline water in addition to the freshwater Lake Manuherikia which formed the fossil deposits.

There are no stiff-tailed ducks remaining in the New Zealand fauna, but three species in three genera (Malacorhynchus, Oxyura, Biziura) became extinct following human contact.

Weblinks

http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?oid=690434

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/fossils/6/1

References

Worthy, T.H.; Lee, M.S.Y. 2008. Affinities of Miocene waterfowl (Anatidae: Manukerikia, Dunstanetta and Miotadorna) from the St Bathans Fauna, New Zealand. Palaeontology 51: 677-708.

Worthy, T.H.; Tennyson, A.J.D.; Jones, C.; McNamara, J.A.; Douglas, B.J. 2007. Miocene waterfowl and other birds from central Otago, New Zealand. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 5: 1-39.

Recommended citation

Miskelly, C.M. 2013. Manuherikia duck. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Manuherikia duck

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