The nominotypical subspecies of the Eastern buzzard (Buteo japonicus japonicus; BJJ) is a common raptor inhabiting East Asia and Japan. Another subspecies, B. j. toyoshimai (BJT), inhabits only the Bonin Islands of the Ogasawara Islands, where there are only an estimated 85 breeding pairs. Because of this low population size, this subspecies is classified as endangered (class IB) in Japan. The aims of the present study were to examine genetic differences between BJJ and BJT, determine the genetic structure of the Eastern Buzzard, and assess genetic diversity within each subspecies. We sequenced 1526 bp within the control region of the mtDNA of 10 BJJ individuals during the breeding season in four sites; similarly, we sequenced 23 BJJ individuals during winter in three sites. We detected 24 haplotypes among the 33 individuals. In a similar analysis performed with 12 BJT individuals, three haplotypes were detected. The phylogenetic analysis showed that BJJ and BJT have diverged into distinct clades, supporting the genetic differentiation between the subspecies. Network and mismatch distribution analyses indicated that BJJ may have experienced population expansion. In addition, comparisons with other raptors revealed a high degree of genetic diversity in the BJJ population. In contrast, the genetic diversity of the BJT population is lower than that in other raptors. Our results indicated that it is necessary to protect BJT to prevent the reduction in its genetic diversity.
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Vol. 36 • No. 6