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Taxonomic status of the extinct Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi

Senfeld, Tereza and Shannon, Thomas J and Grouw, Hein and Paijmans, Dane M and Tavares, Erika S and Baker, Allan J and Lees, Alexander C and Collinson, J Martin (2019) Taxonomic status of the extinct Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi. Ibis. ISSN 0019-1019

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Abstract

Mitochondrial genes were sequenced from four specimens of the extinct Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi and compared with African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini, Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus and an old unidentified extralimital ‘black’ oystercatcher specimen from The Gambia. At these loci, H. meadewaldoi was approximately 99.65% identical to multiple Eurasian Oystercatcher samples and in phylogenetic trees fell within the range of genetic variation observed in that species. The mystery Gambian bird was resolved as an extralimital H. moquini. We conclude that H. meadewaldoi was most likely a recently diverged melanistic morph or subspecies of H.ostralegus, although further genomic studies will be required to determine whether there has been a period of isolation followed by introgression.

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