Background: The circumscription of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea is a matter of long ongoing debate. While the overall inclusiveness has now been mostly agreed on and 20 families recognised, the phylogenetic relationships among the families are largely unknown. We here present a phylogenetic hypothesis for Sylvioidea based on one mitochondrial and six nuclear markers, in total ~6.3 kbp, for 79 ingroup species representing all currently recognised families and some species with uncertain affinities, making this the most comprehensive analysis of this taxon.
Results: The resolution, especially of the deeper nodes, is much improved compared to previous studies. However, many relationships among families remain uncertain and are in need of verification. Most families themselves are very well supported based on the total data set and also by indels. Our data do not support the inclusion of Hylia in Cettiidae, but do not strongly reject a close relationship with Cettiidae either. The genera Scotocerca and Erythrocercus are closely related to Cettiidae, but separated by relatively long internodes. The families Paridae, Remizidae and Stenostiridae clustered among the outgroup taxa and not within Sylvioidea.
Conclusions: Although the phylogenetic position of Hylia is uncertain, we tentatively support the recognition of the family Hyliidae Bannerman, 1923 for this genus and Pholidornis. We propose new family names for the genera Scotocerca and Erythrocercus, Scotocercidae and Erythrocercidae, respectively, rather than including these in Cettiidae, and we formally propose the name Macrosphenidae, which has been in informal use for some time. We recommend that Paridae, Remizidae and Stenostiridae are not included in Sylvioidea. We also briefly discuss the problems of providing a morphological diagnosis when proposing a new family-group name (or genus-group name) based on a clade.
Phylogeny; Passerines; Taxonomic revision; International Code of Zoological Nomenclature
BMC Evolutionary Biology
2012, Volume: 12, article number: 157
Publisher: BIOMED CENTRAL LTD
UKÄ Subject classification
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