RMRS-RN-53WWW: An apparent case of long-distance breeding dispersal by a Mexican spotted owl in New Mexico
Citation: Ganey, Joseph L.; Jenness, Jeffrey S. 2013. An apparent case of long-distance breeding dispersal by a Mexican spotted owl in New Mexico. Res. Note RMRS-RN-53WWW. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 5 p.
Abstract: The Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) is widely but patchily distributed throughout the southwestern United States and the Republic of Mexico (Gutiérrez and others 1995, Ward and others 1995). This owl typically occurs in either rocky canyonlands or forested mountain and canyon systems containing mixed-conifer or pine-oak (Pinus spp. - Quercus spp.) forests, and its distribution mirrors the availability of such areas (Ganey and Dick 1995, Ward and others 1995, USDI FWS 2012). Gene flow is known to occur across this fragmented range (Barrowclough and others 2006), but the mechanisms facilitating gene flow are poorly understood. Natal dispersal between disjunct mountain ranges and populations has been documented for dispersing juvenile Mexican spotted owls (Gutiérrez and others 1996, Arsenault and others 1997, Ganey and others 1998, Willey and van Riper 2000, Duncan and Speich 2002). In contrast, there are no documented records of breeding dispersal (defined as movement of a non-juvenile owl between territories where it had the opportunity to breed, regardless of whether or not breeding occurred on these territories [Daniels and Walters 2000]) by non-juvenile owls. Thus, the potential role of breeding dispersal in gene flow within the range of this owl is unknown.
Keywords: Mexican spotted owl, Strix occidentalis lucida, breeding dispersal, gene flow
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