Determining the Specific Status of Korean Collared Scops Owls

  • Hong, Yoon Jee (Conservation Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife (CGRB), College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, Young Jun (Chungnam Wild Animal Rescue Center, Kongju University) ;
  • Murata, Koichi (Laboratory of Wildlife Science, College of Bioresource Science, Nihon University) ;
  • Lee, Hang (Conservation Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife (CGRB), College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University) ;
  • Min, Mi-Sook (Conservation Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife (CGRB), College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2012.10.08
  • Accepted : 2012.12.20
  • Published : 2013.04.30


The collared scops owl that occurs in Korea is a protected species but its exact specific status has been questioned. To resolve the species status, a molecular phylogenetic analysis was conducted using two fragments of mitochondrial DNA, cytochrome b (cyt b, 891 bp) and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2, 627 bp) genes. Phylogenetic trees of cyt b revealed that all Korean specimens formed a monophyletic group with Japanese scops owl Otus semitorques with very low sequence divergence (d=0.008). We obtained a similar ND2 tree as well (d=0.003); however, the genetic distance between Korean individuals and O. lempiji from GenBank (AJ004026-7, EU348987, and EU601036) was very high and sufficient enough to separate them as species (cyt b, d=0.118; ND2, d=0.113). We also found that Korean species showed high differentiation from O. bakkamoena (AJ004018-20 and EU601034; cyt b, d=0.106; ND2, d=0.113) and O. lettia (EU601109 and EU601033, cyt b, d=0.110; ND2, d=0.117) as well. Therefore, we suggest that the Korean collared scops owl should be designated as Otus semitorques.


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