Molecular identification of the first Galapagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) reported on the central coast of Oaxaca

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Carlos Javier Tamayo-Millán
Miguel Ángel Ahumada-Sempoal
Adriana Cortés-Gómez
Ivon Marcela Chacón-Romo Leroux
Dennis Bermúdez-Díaz
Valentina Islas-Villanueva

Abstract

Several sightings of different pinniped species have been recorded outside their typical areas of distribution. In May 2019, pinniped yearlings were sighted on 4 occasions on the central coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. One of them was found injured in La Escobilla (Oaxaca, Mexico) and was transported immediately to the Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga for rehabilitation. Visual identification of the species was inconclusive, as young individuals of several fur seal species can be very similar. A molecular analysis was thus performed to confirm the species. DNA was extracted from the individual, and a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region was sequenced and aligned with several sequences of other fur seal species. A parsimony analysis was performed, and the tree revealed that the individual was a Galapagos fur seal, Arctocephalus galapagoensis. This is the first record of this species on the central coast of Oaxaca. The atypical presence of this species in the country could be related to high sea surface temperatures associated with events such as El Niño.

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Tamayo-Millán, C. J., Ahumada-Sempoal, M. Ángel, Cortés-Gómez, A., Chacón-Romo Leroux, I. M., Bermúdez-Díaz, D., & Islas-Villanueva, V. (2021). Molecular identification of the first Galapagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) reported on the central coast of Oaxaca. Ciencias Marinas, 47(3), 201–209. https://doi.org/10.7773/cm.v47i3.3184
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