Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 1–13

Molecular data reveal some major adaptational shifts in the early evolution of the most diverse avian family, the Furnariidae

  • Jon Fjeldså
  • Martin Irestedt
  • Per G. P. Ericson
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10336-004-0054-5

Cite this article as:
Fjeldså, J., Irestedt, M. & Ericson, P.G.P. J Ornithol (2005) 146: 1. doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0054-5

Abstract

A robust phylogeny estimate for the family Furnariidae (sensu lato) was obtained using sequences of two nuclear introns and one mitochondrial gene (cyt b). Contrary to the widely accepted sister-group relationship of ovenbirds (Furnariinae) and woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae), a basal clade is suggested for Sclerurus and Geositta, while Xenops, hitherto considered an aberrant ovenbird, was found to occupy a basal position on the woodcreeper lineage. The morphological variation is re-interpreted in view of this revised phylogenetic hypothesis. Presumably, the remarkable adaptive radiation in this family started as primitive, Sclerurus-likes forms, which used the tail as a prop during terrestrial feeding, lured up to seek food on tree-trunks. The two basal woodcreeper genera, Xenops and then Glyphorynchus, show strong cranial specializations for hammering in wood, thus presenting a remarkable parallelism with the family Picidae, Xenops resembling a piculet, Glyphorynchus, a diminutive woodpecker. However, this specialization was lost in other woodcreepers, which show a more normal passerine skull, adapted for probing and prying in tree-trunk crevices and sallying for escaping insects. The ovenbirds developed a more flexible (rhynchokinetic) bill, well suited for probing and retrieving hidden prey in dead-leaf clusters and debris suspended in the vegetation, and in epiphyte masses. Adaptations to live in open terrain are secondary.

Keywords

Adaptative shiftsBayesian analysisDendrocolaptinaeFurnariinaeNuclear introns

Supplementary material

Appendix1.pdf (29 kb)
Appendix 1 (PDF 30 KB)
Appendix2.pdf (21 kb)
Appendix 2 (PDF 22 KB)
SupplTables1-2.xls (82 kb)
Suppl. Tables1-2 (Excel 82 KB)

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Fjeldså
    • 1
  • Martin Irestedt
    • 2
  • Per G. P. Ericson
    • 3
  1. 1.Zoological MuseumUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Vertebrate Zoology and Molecular Systematics LaboratorySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden