New paper on taxonomy of robins

To: COG line <>
Subject: New paper on taxonomy of robins
From: Robin Hide <>
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 08:10:35 +1000
Taxonomy buffs may be interested in this new paper from the School of Botany and Zoology, ANU
Robin Hide:

Loynes, Kate, Leo Joseph and J. Scott Keogh (2009). “Multi-locus phylogeny clarifies the systematics of the Australo-Papuan robins (Family Petroicidae, Passeriformes).” Mol Phylogenet Evol May 19.
The Australo-Papuan family Petroicidae (Aves: Passeriformes) has been the focus of much systematic debate about its relationships with other passerine families, as well as relationships within the family. Mostly conservative morphology within the group limits the effectiveness of traditional taxonomic analyses and has contributed to ongoing systematic debate. To assess relationships within the family, we sampled 47 individuals from 26 species, representing the majority of genera and species, for four loci: 528 base pairs (bp) of C-myc, 501 bp of BA20454 and 336 bp of BA23989 from nuclear DNA and 1005 bp of the mitochondrial ND2 gene. There was consensus between individual loci and overall support for major lineages was strong. Partitioned Bayesian analyses of all four loci produced a fully resolved and very well supported phylogeny that addresses many of the previous systematic debates in this group. The Eopsaltriinae as construed is monophyletic with the exception of Eopsaltria flaviventris, which is nested within Microeca as an unremarkable member of that genus. This relationship is corroborated by morphology and egg colour and pattern. Petroicinae as currently construed was not monophyletic and comprised two lineages that are paraphyletic with respect to each other. The third subfamily, Drymodinae, remains incertae sedis. The mangrove robin, Peneonanthe pulverulenta, of tropical Australia and New Guinea is nested within a clade that also contained the sampled species of Peneothello and Melanodryas, a novel relationship. Preliminary biogeographic and divergence time estimates from these results are discussed and a new subfamily arrangement proposed.

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