Dramatic niche shifts and morphological change in two insular bird speciesAlström, Per; Jönsson,, Knud A; Ödeen, Anders; Fjeldså, Jon; Ericson, Per G.P.; Irestedt, Martin;
Colonizations of islands are often associated with rapid morphological divergence. We present two previously unrecognized cases of dramatic morphological change and niche shifts in connection with colonization of tropical forest-covered islands. These evolutionary changes have concealed the fact that the passerine birds madanga, Madanga ruficollis, from Buru, Indonesia, and São Tomé shorttail, Amaurocichla bocagii, from São Tomé, Gulf of Guinea, are forest-adapted members of the family Motacillidae (pipits and wagtails). We show that Madanga has diverged mainly in plumage, which may be the result of selection for improved camouflage in its new arboreal niche, while selection pressures for other morphological changes have probably been weak owing to preadaptations for the novel niche. By contrast, we suggest that Amaurocichla's niche change has led to divergence in both structure and plumage.
speciation, adaptive change, niche shifts, morphological divergence
Published inRoyal Society Open Science 2015, volume: 2, number: 3
UKÄ Subject classification
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
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