Nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are highly suitable for phylogenetic analyses of animals and are therefore extensively used as a standard phylogenetic method. Today, complete mitochondrial genomes have been revealed because the cost of sequencing has decreased due to technical advances in molecular biology. While complete mitochondrial genomes from many avian samples are registered in the DDBJ, EMBL, andGenBank data banks, not all avian species are registered. It is important to gather mtDNA nucleotide sequence data, which are useful for assessing genetic diversity, establishing conservation-management units, detecting threatened cryptic species, and selecting more suitable lineages for reintroduction. We collected samples of birds designated endangered by the Japanese Government and determined their complete mitochondrial genomes. Because the DNA extracted from the samples was degraded and fragmented, we designed 16 primer sets to amplify the shorter fragments. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with LA Taq and these primer sets resulted in 16 fragments of the mtDNA coding region (12S rRNA to cytochrome b), of which we determined the sequences. We designed two additional external PCR primers on both ends of the determined coding region and amplified the region by long PCR. Our method provided the complete mitochondrial genomes of 51 samples, across which two types of gene orders were found from cytochrome b to 12S rRNA. Differences in these gene orders could be effective genetic markers for phylogeny. The samples were derived from 49 species included in 27 families and 12 orders. Of them, 46 species/subspecies are threatened in Japan. Our data will contribute to avian phylogeny and conservation biology.
Historical records of living Adélie Penguins Pygoscelis adeliae brought back to Japan by Southern Ocean whaling fleet were investigated. Following the work by Mr. Mitsusuke Yonekubo, two Adélie Penguins were captured on December 27, 1940 and housed in the oil tanker Itsukushima Maru. The captain enthusiastically kept penguins and the tanker arrived at Kobe Port on February 2, 1941. The penguins were moved to Takarazuka Zoological Park and died about a month later. Operation of the Antarctic mothership whaling, the experience and efforts of the captain, and sea water supply and drainage pump of the Itsukushima Maru played an important role for the transport of this species to Japan.
Middle-sized Procellariidae replace each feather in order once a year. We measured total mercury contents ([Hg]) of each feather of 3 individuals of Streaked Shearwaters Calonectris leucomelas found dead in March in Kyoto, Japan. [Hg] was moderate in the back feathers, highest in the inner primaries (P1, P2), decreased to be low in the outermost primary (P10) and all tail feathers (R1 – R6). The excretion of mercury through molting partly explains the seasonal change of the mercury contents in the body.
The population trend of the Yellow-breasted Bunting (YbB) Emberiza aureola was clarified based on surveys of presence-absence status of YbB in 10 sites of the Lake Komuke area, north-eastern Hokkaido, from May to July of 1990 – 2012. Numbers of sites in which YbBs occurred began to decrease from the end of 1990’s and decreased abruptly in 2000’s. It is considered that population decrease in this area was more delayed than in other areas of Hokkaido.
Japanese names are a useful tool for Japanese speakers to communicate scientifically about birds. However, over 35 years have already passed since the most influential book treating Japanese names for all modern birds (Yamashina 1986) was published. During that time, the classification of birds has undergone major changes. Here we provide a revised list of Japanese names for species of waterfowl (Anseriformes) and landfowl (Galliformes), which adopts the latest classification system (Gill et al. 2023).
The Mountain Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus nipalensis preys on small- and mediumsized mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in forested areas. But the hunting sites within the forest have not been reported. We present the behavior of Mountain Hawk-Eagle hunting small arboreal mammals, the Japanese flying squirrels Pteromys momonga, in a tree cavity.