Gentoo penguins should be reclassified as four separate species, say scientists at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, after analysing the genetic and physical differences between populations around the southern hemisphere.
The researchers say that counting them as four separate species will aid in their conservation because it will make it easier to monitor any decline in numbers.
Gentoo penguins, with the Latin name Pygoscelis papua, live in a range of latitudes in the southern hemisphere and are currently split into two subspecies, P. p. ellsworthi and P. p. papua. MORE
Header image: Spot the difference: Whilst the gentoo penguin species look very similar, they have adapted to live in quite different habitats. Credit Gemma Clucas.