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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Mitochondrial phylogeny of the Eurasian/African reed warbler complex (Acrocephalus, Aves). Disagreement between morphological and molecular evidence and cryptic divergence: A case for resurrecting Calamoherpe ambigua Brehm 1857

Olsson, Urban; Rguibi-Idrissi, Hamid; Copete, José Luis; Arroyo Matos, José Luis; Provost, Pascal; Amezian, Mohamed; Alström, Per; Jiguet, F.


A tree based on the mitochondrial cyt b gene for 278 samples from throughout the range of the Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus - African Reed Warbler A. baeticatus complex shows well supported geographically structured divergence for eight distinct lineages. The phylogenetic structuring together with the clarification of priority, provided by sequence data from seven type specimens, suggests that both taxonomy and distribution boundaries are in need of revision. The Iberian and Moroccan populations form a well-supported Glade, and we propose that these are treated as taxonomically distinct, under the name ambiguus (Brehm, 1857). We propose that the names scirpaceus, fuscus, avicenniae, ambiguus, minor, cinnamomeus, hallae and baeticatus are used for the well supported clades in the complex, which we recommend to treat as one polytypic species, A. scirpaceus, pending studies of gene flow and assortative mating in the contact zones.


Acrocephalus scirpaceus; Acrocephalus baeticatus; Cryptic species; Cyt b gene; Dating; Demographic analysis

Published in

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
2016, volume: 102, pages: 30-44

Authors' information

Olsson, Urban
University of Gothenburg
Rguibi-Idrissi, Hamid
University Chouaib Doukkali, El Jadida,
Copete, José Luis
Arroyo Matos, José Luis
Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC)
Provost, Pascal
Amezian, Mohamed
University Abdelmalek Essaadi
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Species Information Centre
Jiguet, F.
Sorbonne Université

UKÄ Subject classification

Biological Systematics
Evolutionary Biology
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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