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)

*Corresponding author for this work

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 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

TS performed this work as part of her MSc (Genetics) at University of Aberdeen. TJS is supported by PhD funding from The Sound Approach. DMP's research forms part of the Oystercatcher Conservation Programme and was supported by the National Research Foundation and the University of Cape Town. We thank curatorial staff, Tony Parker at the World Museum, Liverpool and Henry McGhie at Manchester Museum. We thank Amy Bastow for securing material from Eurasian Oystercatcher and Lucie Goodayle for photography of NHM oystercatcher specimen. EST was funded by the Canadian Barcode of Life Network, and ROM Governor’s Fund.


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


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