Polar Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 1501–1510 | Cite as

Skull anatomy of Wilson’s storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus (Hydrobatidae, Procellariiformes)

  • Alejandra PiroEmail author
  • Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche
Original Paper


Oceanites oceanicus (Procellariiformes, Hydrobatidae), commonly known as Wilson’s storm-petrel, is a small seabird frequenting the South Atlantic Ocean during the austral summer. Although a number of adaptations (such as the development of salt glands, two long and tubular external nostrils, an extraordinary olfactory system, and a hooked bill covered by several horny plates) are shared with all other Procellariiformes, the ongoing discrepancy between molecular and morphological data highlights the limited osteological information available for O. oceanicus. However, we strongly believe that osteology provides significant information to understand the evolutionary history of different groups of birds. Comparative analysis of the cranium and mandible shows that adult specimens of O. oceanicus have a globose and completely fused cranium without visible sutures, and a short beak. Besides, as in other storm-petrels, the fossa glandulae nasale is interrupted by the development of the processus postocularis and the angulus postocularis; the os lacrimale develops a complex structure, with a fenestra innominata between the rostral process of the lacrimal and the os frontale; the lamina parasphenoidalis has a simpler structure with poorly defined boundaries and without processi; and the processi basipterigoidea are present.


Oceanitinae Cranium Mandible Osteology Seabirds 



The authors thank the following collection managers for access to the materials used in the present study: Diego Montalti and Luciano Segura (Ornithological Section, MLP), Mariana Picasso (División Paleontología Vertebrados, MLP), and Yolanda Davies (Ornithological Section, MACN), Jan Jansen and Wouter van Gestel for sharing skull images published on their webpage, María Florencia Sosa and Oscar Enrique Piro for checking the English grammar, and the Editor-in-Chief Dieter Piepenburg and the reviewers (Julian Hume and two anonymous reviewers) for helpful comments. This study was partially supported by the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (PID N838) and Oceanwide Expeditions, Vlissingen (NL).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sección Ornitología, División Zoología Vertebrados, Museo de La PlataFacultad de Ciencias Naturales y MuseoLa PlataArgentina
  2. 2.División Paleontología Vertebrados, Museo de La PlataFacultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, CONICETLa PlataArgentina

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