Map of Antarctica Source:

Figure 1. Map of Antarctica

Penguins (family Spheniscidae) are birds that live almost exclusively in the Southern hemisphere, particularly centred around Antarctica, this family of flightless birds are well adapted to life in water (Richdale, 1957).

They are an important part of the Antarctic ecosystem being food for large marine predators and in being consumers of varied organisms (Richdale, 1957). This blog shall look at Penguins in the Antarctic environment and where necessary will focus on the Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae.

Most Antarctic and Subantarctic island has more than one resident species of penguin (Richdale 1957). Large breeding colonies occur along the coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula and Continent of the Antarctic (a map of which can be seen in figure 1) concentrating in areas with favourable conditions (Richdale 1957).

Penguins can also be found breeding on the coasts and islands surrounding southern Australia and New Zealand (Cimino et al. 2013). Colonies can also be found on Islands off the Southern and South West coast of South Africa, as well as the coasts of Chile and Peru. With the northernmost penguins living near the equator on the Galápagos Islands (Cimino et al. 2013).

The Adélie penguin penguin is a migratory species that winters amongst the pack ice and then spends the spring in the Atlantic ocean and on the surrounding islands (Taylor 1962). The Adélie penguin is the most numerous in the Antarctic region with breeding colonies that can reach hundreds of thousands of birds, they are numerous on the Antarctic shores but have only been found on a few islands (Taylor 1962).

In this blog I will be giving a brief overview of species of penguin found in The Antarctic and subantarctic areas (Cimino et al. 2013). Then focusing on the adaptations of penguins to dealing with the the extreme Antarctic environment, in keeping warm and their abilities to perform normal behaviors such as diving (Chappell et al. 1993). I will concentrate this to looking at the Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae a small species of penguin from the Genus Pygoscelis breeds in the Antarctica (Wilson et al. 2001).

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