The Ogasawara Archipelago comprises two groups of oceanic islands: the Bonin Islands, formed in the Paleogene, and the Volcano Islands, formed in the Quaternary. These groups are located within a moderate distance (ca. 160–270 km) of one another; thus, most land bird species are not distinguished as different subspecies. Two land birds, however, show unusual distribution. The Japanese white-eyes Zosterops japonicus originally inhabited only the Volcano Islands, but has been introduced to the Bonin Islands. The brown-eared bulbuls Hypsipetes amaurotis are distributed as a different subspecies. We investigated their genetic differences and divergences in the Ogasawara Archipelago using mitochondria DNA. The Volcano population of white-eyes had four endemic haplotypes that were divergent from one another, except for the Bonin population, which shared three haplotypes with the Volcano, Izu, and Ryukyu Islands and did not have any endemic haplotype. This is the first genetic suggestion that the Bonin population is a hybrid of introduced populations. With respect to bulbuls, the Volcano and Bonin Islands each had a single endemic haplotype. The Volcano haplotype is closest to a haplotype shared with Izu, the Japanese mainland, Daito and Ryukyu, whereas the Bonin haplotype is closest to one endemic to the south Ryukyu Islands. This indicates that the sources of the two bulbul populations can be geologically and temporally distinguished. The populations of the two species in the Ogasawara Archipelago are irreplaceable, owing to their genetic differences and should be regarded as evolutionarily significant units. In order to prevent introgression between the two populations, we must restrict interisland transfers.
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Vol. 33 • No. 2