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1 March 2016 Sex Determination in Breeding Dunlin (Calidris alpina hudsonia)
Laura Koloski, Sylvia Coulson, Erica Nol
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Male and female Dunlin (Calidris alpina) exhibit slight plumage and structural differences. Discriminant function analysis based on morphological characteristics can effectively differentiate between sexes in several subspecies of Dunlin. We assessed the level of sexual size dimorphism in a subspecies that breeds in sub-Arctic Canada (C. a. hudsonia), and used discriminant function analysis to create equations to classify individuals to sex using five body measurements (body mass, head length, culmen length, tarsus length, and flattened wing chord). Females were significantly larger than males for all body measurements. Discriminant function analysis using tarsus length, head length, and body mass correctly classified 87.1% of molecularly sexed females (n = 31) and 92.6% of males (n = 27). The classification of an independent sample (n = 12) resulted in 100.0% correct assignment of sex with 33.3% of individuals falling within the undetermined range. A discriminant function analysis equation is provided for use with non-breeding populations using only structural characteristics with classification accuracies of 83.9% for females and 81.5% for males. The resulting equations from this study have classification accuracies comparable to those equations developed for other Dunlin subspecies and can be used to reliably differentiate sexes of C. a. hudsonia using body measurements collected in the field.

Laura Koloski, Sylvia Coulson, and Erica Nol "Sex Determination in Breeding Dunlin (Calidris alpina hudsonia)," Waterbirds 39(1), 27-33, (1 March 2016).
Received: 3 February 2015; Accepted: 12 March 2015; Published: 1 March 2016
Calidris alpina hudsonia
discriminant function
molecular sexing
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