Extreme Endemic Radiation of the Malagasy Vangas (Aves: Passeriformes)
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Phylogenetic relationships of the family Vangidae and representatives of several other passeriform families were inferred from 882 base positions of mitochondrial DNA sequences of 12S and 16S rRNA genes. Results indicated the monophyly of the Vangidae, which includes the genus Tylas, hitherto often placed in the family Pycnonotidae. Our results also revealed the Malagasy endemic Newtonia, a genus never previously assigned to the Vangidae, to be a member of this family. These results suggest the occurrence of an extensive in situ radiation of this family within Madagascar, and that the extant high diversity of this family is not the result of multiple colonizations from outside. The extremely high morphological and ecological diversification of the family seems to have been enhanced through the use and ultimate occupancy of vacant niches in this island.
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