On the Evolution of Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus L.) in Middle Asia
Geographic variation of the plumage coloration patterns in the pheasant (Phasianus colchicus L.) in Middle Asia and the adjacent territories is discussed. Seven Middle Asian subspecies belong to three geographic races: a semicollared race (Ph. c. mongolficus and Ph. c. turkestanicus); a black-gold race (Ph. c. bianchii and Ph. c. chrysomelas); and a red-belly race (Ph. c. zerafschanicus, Ph. c. zarudnyi, and Ph. c. principalfs). The eighth, West Kopetdagh subspecies Ph. c. persficus is closer to the Caucasian form Ph. c. talischensis than to the three Middle Asian races. Reconstruction of intraspecific differentiation and dispersal of the pheasant in Middle Asia and the Caucasus is proposed, and possible intersubspecific hybridization is discussed.
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