Research Article

Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1485-1493

First online:

Genetic analysis of the endemic island loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus anthonyi

  • Isabel C. CaballeroAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Mary V. AshleyAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago Email author 

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Abstract

Based on limited research, the island loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus anthonyi has been considered a distinct subspecies endemic to the northern California Channel Islands. We used mtDNA control region sequences and microsatellite genotyping to compare loggerhead shrikes from the southern California mainland (L. l. gambeli), San Clemente Island (L. l. mearnsi), and the northern islands (L. l. anthonyi). Habitats on the islands are recovering due to the removal of non-native ungulates on the islands, but may be transitioning to habitats less supportive of loggerhead shrikes, so this evaluation comes at a critical time. We utilized 96 museum specimens that were collected over a century to evaluate both spatial and temporal genetic patterns. Analysis of multilocus microsatellite genotypes indicated that historical specimens of loggerhead shrikes (collected between 1897 and 1986) from the two northern islands of Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz are genetically distinct from adjacent mainland and island shrikes. Birds from Santa Catalina Island showed mixed ancestry and did not cluster with the northern island birds. Historical specimens of L. l. mearnsi from San Clemente Island also showed mixed ancestry. Our study provides evidence that a genetically distinct form of loggerhead shrikes, L. l. anthonyi, occurred on the islands of Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz.

Keywords

California Channel Islands Habitat restoration Island endemics Lanius ludovicianus Loggerhead shrikes Microsatellites