Use of Museum Specimens to Refine Historical Pronghorn Subspecies Boundaries

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Abstract

Endangered Sonoran (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) and Peninsular (A. a. peninsularis) pronghorn persist largely because of captive breeding and reintroduction efforts. Recovery team managers want to re-establish pronghorn in their native range, but there is currently uncertainty regarding the subspecies status of extinct pronghorn populations that historically inhabited southern California, USA, and northern Baja California, Mexico. To address this uncertainty, we genotyped museum specimens and conducted phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of historical data in the context of 3 contemporary pronghorn populations. The historical northern Baja California pronghorn share the most ancestry with contemporary Peninsular pronghorn, whereas pronghorn in southern California share more ancestry with contemporary American (A. a. americana) pronghorn. For reintroductions into northern Baja California, the Peninsular subspecies is more appropriate based on museum genetic data. For reintroductions into Southern California, ecological and genetic factors are both important, as the subspecies most genetically related to historical populations (American) may not be well-adapted to the hot, low-elevation deserts of the reintroduction area. © 2019 The Wildlife Society.

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Hahn, E. E., Klimova, A., Munguía-Vega, A., Clark, K. B., & Culver, M. (2020). Use of Museum Specimens to Refine Historical Pronghorn Subspecies Boundaries. Journal of Wildlife Management, 84(3), 524–533. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21810

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