Mitochondrial DNA variation of the ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The ruffed grouse, Bonasa umbellus, is broadly distributed across North America and displays considerable taxonomic diversity. Except for a genetic study of some western populations of ruffed grouse, nothing is known about genetic variation in other regions of Canada and the United States. Our objective is to examine patterns of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in the ruffed grouse across western, central, and eastern parts of its distribution. We compare patterns of mtDNA variation to those characterized by morphology and ecology. Additionally, we evaluate the demographic history of the species based on mitochondrial haplotype diversity. RESULTS: Patterns of mtDNA variation revealed geographic subdivision, with populations of ruffed grouse subdivided into 3 to 4 genetically distinct groups. This subdivision partially coincided with the ranges of described subspecies. Behavioral traits prohibiting long-distance movement and barriers to dispersal in response to physiography and unsuitable habitat help explain these patterns of subdivision. Historically, the ruffed grouse probably experienced a population expansion, possibly in response to changes during the Pleistocene.

published proceedings

  • BMC Res Notes

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Honeycutt, R. L., Proudfoot, G. A., & Silvy, N. J.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Honeycutt, Rodney L||Proudfoot, Glenn A||Silvy, Nova J

publication date

  • September 2019