Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 879–882 | Cite as

A derived pterygoid/palatine complex indicates sister group relationship between the Cuckoo Finch, Anomalospiza imberbis and the Grosbeak Weaver, Amblyospiza albifrons

  • Gerald Mayr
Short Note


Molecular analyses support a sister group relationship between the African Cuckoo Finch (Anomalospiza imberbis) and Viduidae (whydahs and indigobirds). This result was interpreted as evidence for a single origin of brood parasitism in Old World passerines. However, it went unnoticed that A. imberbis shares an unusual derived morphology of the pterygoid/palatine complex with the African Grosbeak Weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons), whose affinities could not be resolved in molecular analyses. The unusual and extensive fusion of the pterygoids and palatines of the two species is likely to constitute a synapomorphy of Anomalospiza and Amblyospiza. Sister group relationship between these taxa would indicate that brood parasitism has either been lost secondarily in Amblyospiza or, more likely, evolved independently in Anomalospiza and Viduidae.


Aves Phylogeny Pterygoid Palatine Brood parasitism 


Ein abgeleiteter Bau von Pterygoid und Palatinum weist auf Schwestergruppenbeziehung zwischen Kuckucksweber, Anomalospiza imberbis , und Weißstirnweber, Amblyospiza albifrons

Molekulare Analysen stützen eine Schwestergruppenbeziehung zwischen dem afrikanischen Kuckucksweber (Anomalospiza imberbis) und Viduidae (Witwenvögel). Dieses Ergebnis wurde als Hinweis auf eine einmalige Entstehung von Brutparasitismus in altweltlichen Singvögeln gewertet. Es blieb allerdings unbemerkt, daß A. imberbis einen ungewöhnlichen abgeleiteten Bau von Pterygoid und Palatinum mit dem Weißstirnweber (Amblyospiza albifrons) teilt, dessen Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen in molekularen Analysen nicht geklärt werden konnten. Die ungewöhnliche und großflächige Fusion von Pterygoid und Palatinum bei beiden Arten stellt vermutlich eine Synapomorphie von Anomalospiza und Amblyospiza dar. Schwestergruppenbeziehung zwischen diesen beiden Taxa würde implizieren, daß Brutparasitismus entweder sekundär bei Amblyospiza verloren ging oder, was wahrscheinlicher ist, unabhängig in Anomalospiza und Viduidae entstand.



I thank S. Tränkner for taking the photographs, and an anonymous reviewer and J. Fjeldså for comments that improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sektion OrnithologieForschungsinstitut SenckenbergFrankfurt am MainGermany

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