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Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Mohoua, endemic hosts of New Zealand’s obligate brood parasitic Long-tailed Cuckoo (Eudynamys taitensis)


The three species of New Zealand’s endemic Mohoua genus are sole hosts of the obligate brood parasitic Long-tailed Cuckoo (Eudynamys taitensis), making their intrageneric phylogenetic relationships particularly important for coevolutionary studies. Also, recent molecular phylogenetic analyses have not identified the family-level placement of this genus. To resolve both intrageneric and family relationships, we generated new nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data and conducted phylogenetic analyses using Bayesian inference among representatives of endemic New Zealand passerines and Australasian ‘core Corvoidea’ lineages. The results establish strong intrageneric relationships of all three Mohoua species, confirm the monophyly of the genus, and suggest its placement in a re-erected monotypic family: Mohouidae.


Phylogenetische Beziehungen der Gattung Mohuoa , endemische Wirte des neuseeländischen obligat brutparasitischen Langschwanzkoels ( Eudynamys taitensis )

Die drei Arten der für Neuseeland endemischen Gattung Mohoua sind die alleinigen Wirte des obligat brutparasitischen Langschwanzkoels (Eudynamys taitensis), was die phylogenetischen Beziehungen innerhalb der Gattung besonders wichtig für co-evolutionäre Studien macht. Neuere molekulare phylogenetische Analysen erlaubten keine Einordnung dieser Gattung auf Familienebene. Um sowohl die Beziehungen innerhalb der Gattung als auch die Familienzugehörigkeit zu klären, haben wir neue Kern- und Mitochondrien-DNA-Sequenzdaten gewonnen und phylogenetische Analysen von Vertretern endemischer neuseeländischer Sperlingsvögel und australasiatischer „Core- Corvoidea“ mittels Bayesscher Statistik durchgeführt. Die Ergebnisse etablieren solide intragenerische Beziehungen aller drei Mohoua Arten, bestätigen die Monophylie der Gattung und schlagen ihre Einordnung in die wieder eingerichtete monotypische Familie Mohouidae vor.

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We thank the Human Frontier Science Program (M.E.H., P.C.) and the National Science Foundation (Z.A.) for funding. All DNA samples were collected under institutional and governmental research permits in New Zealand.

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Correspondence to Zachary Aidala.

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Communicated by M. Wink.

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Aidala, Z., Chong, N., Anderson, M.G. et al. Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Mohoua, endemic hosts of New Zealand’s obligate brood parasitic Long-tailed Cuckoo (Eudynamys taitensis). J Ornithol 154, 1127–1133 (2013).

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  • Core Corvoidea
  • Pachycephalidae
  • Phylogenetics