Molecular Systematics and Biogeography of Aridland Gnatcatchers (GenusPolioptila) and Evidence Supporting Species Status of the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)

Robert M Zink, Rachelle C. Blackwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over 2000 basepairs of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences were compared to (1) examine evolution in protein coding versus noncoding [control region (CR)] segments, and (2) test the species-level distinctiveness of the California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica) and clarify its phylogenetic and biogeographic relationships to other arid-adapted gnatcatchers. Unlike some studies, CR region I (left domain) was not as variable as coding genes. As expected, the central domain of the CR varied little, whereas CR II (right domain) showed high levels of variation. CR sequences tended to be "phylogenetically noisy" as evidenced by lower rescaled consistency indices, relative to those for coding genes. The California gnatcatcher differs from its sister-species, the black-tailed gnatcatcher (P. melanura), by approximately 4.0%, which supports species-level recognition. Two other aridland gnatcatchers, the black-capped gnatcatcher (P. nigriceps) and white-lored gnatcatcher (P. albiloris), are closely related to the previous two species, also at a level of about 4 to 4.5% sequence divergence. These species evolved over a relatively short time, but prior to the most recent Pleistocene glaciations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1998

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular Systematics and Biogeography of Aridland Gnatcatchers (GenusPolioptila) and Evidence Supporting Species Status of the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this