Taxonomic status of the extinct Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi

Tereza Senfeld, Thomas Shannon, Hein Vangrouw, Dane M. Paijmans, Erika S. Tavares, Allan J. Baker, Alexander C. Lees, J. Martin Collinson (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Mitochondrial genes were sequenced from four specimens of the extinct Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi, and compared to African Oystercatcher H. moquini, Eurasian Oystercatcher H. 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, though further genomic studies will be required to determine if there has been a period of isolation followed by introgression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-1074
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Early online date16 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Oystercatcher
  • Canary Islands
  • The Gambia
  • phylogeny
  • genetics
  • oystercatcher


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