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Hidden diversity of forest birds in Madagascar revealed using integrative taxonomy


Younger, JL and Strozier, L and Maddox, JD and Nyari, AS and Bonfitto, MT and Raherilalao, MJ and Goodman, SM and Reddy, S, Hidden diversity of forest birds in Madagascar revealed using integrative taxonomy, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 124 pp. 16-26. ISSN 1055-7903 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2018 Elsevier Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2018.02.017


Madagascar is renowned as a global biodiversity hotspot with high levels of microendemism. However, there are few molecular phylogenetic studies of Malagasy birds, particularly for forest-dwelling species, signifying a substantial gap in current measures of species diversity in the absence of genetic data. We evaluated species limits and explored patterns of diversification within the genus Newtonia (Family Vangidae), a group of forest-dwelling songbirds endemic to Madagascar. Our modern systematics approach combined genomic, morphometric, and ecological niche data to analyze the evolutionary history of the group. Our integrative analysis uncovered hidden species-level diversity within N. amphichroa, with two deeply divergent and morphologically distinct lineages isolated in different regions of humid forest. We describe the southern lineage as a new species. Conversely, N. brunneicauda, which we initially hypothesized may harbor cryptic diversity owing to its large distribution spanning a range of habitats, was found to have no distinct lineages and shared haplotypes across much of its distribution. The contrasting diversification patterns between Newtonia lineages may be the result of their elevational tolerances. Newtonia brunneicauda has a broad habitat tolerance and elevational range that appears to have facilitated population expansion and gene flow across the island, limiting opportunities for diversification. On the other hand, N. amphichroa is found predominantly in mid-elevation and montane humid forests, a restriction that appears to have promoted speciation associated with climatic fluctuations during the Pleistocene. Our findings indicate that species diversity of Malagasy forest-dwelling birds may be greater than currently recognized, suggesting an urgent need for further studies to quantify biodiversity in Madagascarís rapidly disappearing native forests.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:species delimitation, phylogenetics, passerine
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Animal systematics and taxonomy
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Younger, JL (Dr Jane Younger)
ID Code:153680
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-10-01
Last Modified:2022-11-28

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