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, 62 (2), 581-96

The Phylogenetic Relationships and Generic Limits of Finches (Fringillidae)


The Phylogenetic Relationships and Generic Limits of Finches (Fringillidae)

Dario Zuccon et al. Mol Phylogenet Evol.


Phylogenetic relationships among the true finches (Fringillidae) have been confounded by the recurrence of similar plumage patterns and use of similar feeding niches. Using a dense taxon sampling and a combination of nuclear and mitochondrial sequences we reconstructed a well resolved and strongly supported phylogenetic hypothesis for this family. We identified three well supported, subfamily level clades: the Holoarctic genus Fringilla (subfamly Fringillinae), the Neotropical Euphonia and Chlorophonia (subfamily Euphoniinae), and the more widespread subfamily Carduelinae for the remaining taxa. Although usually separated in a different family-group taxon (Drepanidinae), the Hawaiian honeycreepers are deeply nested within the Carduelinae and sister to a group of Asian Carpodacus. Other new relationships recovered by this analysis include the placement of the extinct Chaunoproctus ferreorostris as sister to some Asian Carpodacus, a clade combining greenfinches (Carduelis chloris and allies), Rhodospiza and Rhynchostruthus, and a well-supported clade with the aberrant Callacanthis and Pyrrhoplectes together with Carpodacus rubescens. Although part of the large Carduelis-Serinus complex, the poorly known Serinus estherae forms a distinct lineage without close relatives. The traditionally delimited genera Carduelis, Serinus, Carpodacus, Pinicola and Euphonia are polyphyletic or paraphyletic. Based on our results we propose a revised generic classification of finches and describe a new monotypic genus for Carpodacus rubescens.

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