Subspecies and units for conservation and management of the northern bobwhite in the eastern United States

Soo Hyung Eo, John P. Wares, John P. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is a small game bird with sedentary lifestyle and has experienced population declines throughout most of its native distribution in the eastern United States. We investigated intraspecific genetic relationships among 14 local populations covering four putative subspecies (C. v. marilandicus, C. v. virginianus, C. v. mexicanus, and C. v. floridanus) in the United States. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences revealed a small, but significant, genetic structure of northern bobwhite populations or subspecies in the eastern US. However, our results did not support current subspecies limits as distinct evolutionarily significant units, based on the amount of population genetic divergences and insufficient lineage sorting of mtDNA haplotypes among subspecies. Instead, our results suggest that C. v. virginianus, C. v. marilandicus, and C. v. mexicanus be merged into a single management unit, and C. v. floridanus be considered as another distinct unit for conservation and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-875
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Colinus virginianus
  • Conservation
  • Galliform bird
  • Management unit
  • MtDNA control region
  • Northern bobwhite subspecies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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