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Notes on Appearance and Speculated Behavior of the O'ahu 'O'o (Meliphagidae)

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Title:Notes on Appearance and Speculated Behavior of the O'ahu 'O'o (Meliphagidae)
Authors:Lepson, Jaan Kaimanu
Date Issued:Jul 1998
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Lepson JK. 1998. Notes on appearance and speculated behavior of the O'ahu 'O'o (Meliphagidae). Pac Sci 52(3): 210-219.
Abstract:The O'ahu '6'6 (Moho apicalis) was last collected in 1837, and is
one of the rarest Hawaiian birds in museum collections. Despite the cultural
importance of the '6'6 as a source of yellow feathers for Hawaiian featherwork,
next to nothing is known about this species. A pair of these extinct
honeyeaters at the Museum fur Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universitat in
Berlin have conspicuous yellow bare orbital rings, features not previously noted
or illustrated. Individuals apparently varied in the expression of this character,
because six other specimens did not have the yellow ring. Possible sources of
variation include age, sex, agonistic state, and breeding condition. That this
character varies with age is suggested by its presence in a reduced form in
juveniles of other '6'6 species. Increased sexual dimorphism of the modified
tails relative to body size in this and other '6'6 species indicates sexual selection
on tails either from intrasexual aggression or intersexual mate choice. Patterns
of contrasting yellow feather tufts differ between birds from different islands,
.but not between sexes, suggesting that males and females experienced similar
evolutionary pressures for this feature. The '6'6's tail may have evolved under
the influence of sexual selection on males, and the conspicuous yellow feather
tufts by social selection experienced equally by both sexes.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 52, Number 3, 1998

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