Development and cross-species testing of western bluebird (Sialia mexicana) microsatellite primers


Elise D. Ferree. E-mail:


Western and eastern bluebirds (Sialia mexicana and S. sialis) are socially monogamous passerines that engage in extra-pair copulations. We obtained microsatellites from S. mexicana and optimized and characterized 15 microsatellite DNA loci in 60 individuals of this species. Primer pairs yielded an average of 13 alleles per locus in western bluebirds (range 3–35 alleles) with an average observed heterozygosity of 0.68 (range 0.27–0.88). All 15 loci also successfully amplified in S. sialis (n = 24), with an average of 11.5 alleles per locus (range 4–26) and an average observed heterozygosity of 0.59 (range 0.22–0.90).