Molecular phylogeny of the yuhinas (Sylviidae: Yuhina): a paraphyletic group of babblers including Zosterops and Philippine Stachyris

Abstract

Mitochondrial sequences (2,379 bp) from cytochrome b, ND3, 12s and 16s rRNA were analyzed in order to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships within the yuhinas (Yuhina), including the chestnut-faced babbler Stachyris whiteheadi which is endemic to the Philippines, the Japanese white-eye Zosterops japonicus, the chestnut-flanked white-eye Z. erythropleurus, and the oriental white-eye Z. palpebrosus. The results showed strong support for the idea that S.whiteheadi and three white-eye species form a clade embedded within the Yuhina clade. The robustness of the Yuhina/Philippine Stachyris/Zosterops clade rejected the validity of the monotypic genus Staphida, which was proposed for the striated yuhina Yuhina castaniceps based on its peculiar morphological traits. Sister group relationships between the striped-throated yuhina Yuhina gularis and the rufous-vented yuhina Yuhina occipitalis and between the whiskered yuhina Yuhina flavicollis and the white-naped yuhina Yuhina bakeri were discovered. The sympatric patterns of the above two sister groups in the Himalayas is most likely due to secondary contact. The molecular phylogeny also suggests that crestlessness was derived just once for the Zosterops/Philippine Stachyris clade. The Zosterops/Philippine Stachyris clade in our study also implies that an ancestor of Zosterops/Philippine Stachyris derived the ability to disperse over long distances, so that it could fly over the sea and arrive at the Philippines.

DOI: 10.1007/s10336-007-0150-4

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Cite this paper

@article{Zhang2007MolecularPO, title={Molecular phylogeny of the yuhinas (Sylviidae: Yuhina): a paraphyletic group of babblers including Zosterops and Philippine Stachyris}, author={Shuxia Zhang and Lan Yang and Xiaojun Yang and Jian Yang}, journal={Journal of Ornithology}, year={2007}, volume={148}, pages={417-426} }