White clawed bears are subspecies of the brown bear with distinct claws and pale, straw coloured fur. They hibernate during the winter months and must then feed to replace lost weight. Usually solitary animals, they come together only for mating during spring.
Molecular phylogeography of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in northeastern Asia based on analyses of complete mitochondrial DNA sequences Daisuke Hirata1, Tsutomu Mano2, Alexei V. Abramov3, Gennady F. Baryshnikov3, Pavel A. Kosintsev4, Alexandr A. Vorobiev4, Evgeny G. Raichev5, Hiroshi Tsunoda6, Yayoi Kaneko7, Koichi Murata8, Daisuke Fukui9 and Ryuichi Masuda1,*
+ Author Affiliations 1Department of Natural History Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan 2Environmental and Geological Research Department, Hokkaido Research Organization, Sapporo 080-0819, Japan 3Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia 4Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Russian Academy of Science, Ekaterinburg 620219, Russia 5Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Trakia University, Stara Zagora 6000, Bulgaria 6Research Center for Wildlife Management, Gifu University, Gifu 501-1193, Japan 7Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu 183-8509, Japan 8College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, Fujisawa 252-0880, Japan 9Asahikawa Municipal Asahiyama Zoological Park and Wildlife Conservation Center, Asahikawa 078-8205, Japan ↵*Corresponding author: Ryuichi Masuda, Department of Natural History Sciences, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +81-11-706-3588, Fax: +81-11-706-3588 Received November 13, 2012. Revision received February 17, 2013. Revision received April 10, 2013. Accepted April 17, 2013. Abstract
To further elucidate the migration history of the brown bears (Ursus arctos) on Hokkaido Island, Japan, we analyzed the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of 35 brown bears from Hokkaido, the southern Kuril Islands (Etorofu and Kunashiri), Sakhalin Island, and the Eurasian Continent (continental Russia, Bulgaria, and Tibet), and those of four polar bears. Based on these sequences, we reconstructed the maternal phylogeny of the brown bear and estimated divergence times to investigate the timing of brown bear migrations, especially in northeastern Eurasia. Our gene tree showed the mtDNA haplotypes of all 73 brown and polar bears to be divided into eight divergent lineages. The brown bear on Hokkaido was divided into three lineages (central, eastern, and southern). The Sakhalin brown bear grouped with eastern European and western Alaskan brown bears. Etorofu and Kunashiri brown bears were closely related to eastern Hokkaido brown bears and could have diverged from the eastern Hokkaido lineage after formation of the channel between Hokkaido and the southern Kuril Islands. Tibetan brown bears diverged early in the eastern lineage. Southern Hokkaido brown bears were closely related to North American brown bears. mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/04/25/molbev.mst077.short