T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Albatross (Campbell mollymawk) Thalassarche impavida

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Diomedeidae
Genus: Thalassarche
Species: T. impavida
Binomial name: Thalassarche impavida
Synonyms: Thalassarche melanophris impavida
Common names: Campbell mollymawk, Campbell albatross

Mollymawks are a type of albatross that belong to Diomedeidae family. Mollymawks have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns, although the nostrils on other albatrosses are on the sides of the bill. They produce stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy-rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights. They also have a salt gland situated above the nasal passage which helps desalinate their bodies, necessary due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a high saline solution from their nose.

Thalassarche impavida (Campbell mollymawk) is a medium-sized mollymawk in the albatross family. It breeds only on Campbell Island and the associated islet of Jeanette Marie, a small New Zealand island group in the South Pacific. When breeding they forage from South Island and the Chatham Rise to the Ross Sea. Juveniles and non-breeders will go only through south Australian water, the Tasman Sea, and south western Pacific Ocean.

Campbell mollymawk is a medium-sized black and white albatross > 95 cm in length, and with a weight of 3-4 kg. It has a white head, neck, rump, and underparts with a black upperwing, back, and tail. The underwing is white with broad black margin. It has a black triangle around the eye that reaches the large long bill, which is yellow with an orange tip. The eye has a pale yellow iris.

Breeding birds like to nest on ledges and steep slopes covered with low grass, tussock, or mud. They start breeding at 10 years and they have a breeding success rate of 66%. Adults return to the breeding colony in early August and begin laying in late September. The single egg is incubated for around 70 days. The chicks fledge after about 130 days after hatching. The average life expectancy is given as 28 years, though this is likely due to lack of study as most albatross can live to well beyond 50 years. They feed on fish, squid, crustacea, carrion, and gelatinous organisms.
The largest threat to this species are fisheries, both longline and trawlers.







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