Observations on the relationships of some Sundaic passerine taxa (Aves: Passeriformes) previously unavailable for molecular phylogenetic study

Abstract

To help resolve phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships of Southeast Asian birds, we have collected specimens in Borneo, Sumatra, and Java for phylogenetic and morphological study. Here, we compare mitochondrial ND2 gene sequences from some of these new specimens to sequences obtained in previous studies to shed light on genealogical relationships in nine passerine clades: Erythropitta venusta/granatina/ussheri (pittas); Dicrurus hottentottus (drongos); Alophoixus bulbuls; Napothera, Turdinus and Pellorneum babblers; Anthipes flycatchers; Brachypteryx shortwings; and Myophonus whistling thrushes. These comparisons resolve or shed substantial light on taxonomic problems in pittas, Alophoixus, Napothera, Dicrurus, Brachypteryx, and Myophonus, and they confirm assumed (but previously unquantified) genetic relationships within Turdinus and Anthipes. The resulting trees also allow us to (1) suggest improved taxonomic arrangements in several groups, (2) confirm the rediscovery of a “lost” species within Napothera, and (3) provide the basis for the description of a new subspecies of Alophoixus.

Zusammenfassung

Beobachtungen zu Beziehungen einiger sundanesischer Sperlingsvogel-Taxa (Aves: Passeriformes), die bisher nicht für molekularphylogenetische Studien verfügbar waren

Um die phylogenetischen und phylogeographischen Beziehungen südostasiatischer Vogelarten zu klären, sammelten wir in Borneo, Sumatra und Java Exemplare für phylogenetische und morphologische Studien. Hier vergleichen wir die mitochondrialen ND2-Gensequenzen einiger dieser neuen Exemplare mit Sequenzen, die wir in früheren Studien erhalten haben, um die genealogischen Beziehungen zwischen neun Sperlingsvogel-Kladen zu beleuchten: Erythropitta venusta/granatina/ussheri (Pittas), Dicrurus hottentottus (Drongos), Alophoixus-Bülbüls, Napothera-, Turdinus- und Pellorneum-Drosslinge, Anthipes-Schnäpper, Brachypteryx-Kurzflügel und Myophonus-Pfeifdrosseln. Diese Vergleiche tragen wesentlich zur Lösung und Erklärung der taxonomischen Probleme bei Pitta, Alophoixus, Napothera, Dicrurus, Brachypteryx, und Myophonus bei und bestätigen die vermuteten (aber bis jetzt nicht quantifizierten) genetischen Beziehungen innerhalb von Turdinus und Anthipes. Die daraus resultierenden Stammbäume ermöglichen uns ebenfalls, (1) verbesserte taxonomische Anordnungen in mehreren Gruppen vorzuschlagen, (2) die Wiederentdeckung einer „verlorenen “ Art innerhalb der Napothera zu bestätigen und (3) die Grundlage für die Beschreibung einer neuen Unterart von Alophoixus zu liefern.

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Acknowledgements

For research in Indonesia, we thank the State Ministry of Research and Technology (RISTEK research license numbers 388/SIP/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/XI/2016 and 389/SIP/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/XI/2016, 107/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/I/2018, 1079/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/II/2018, and 1126/FRP/E5/Dit.KI/I/2018), the Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Sumatera Barat and Ministry of Forestry for permission to undertake research in southeast Kalimantan and West Sumatra. We also thank the Research Center for Biology, Indonesian Institute of Science (RCB-LIPI), the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, the University of Andalas, MZB technician Suparno, and the people of Loksado and Kadayang (Kalimantan) and Panti and Lubuk Landua Aua Kuniang (West Pasaman, Sumatra), for their support on our recent expeditions. For research permission and assistance in Malaysian Borneo, we thank the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department, the Chief Ministers’ Departments of Sarawak and Sabah; Sarawak Forest Department, Forestry Corporation, and Biodiversity Institute; the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak; and Sabah Parks, Museum, and Wildlife Department. Tissues for this study were kindly provided by the American Museum of Natural History, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science, and University of Kansas Museum of Natural History. The ND2 sequence of Napothera epilepidota roberti was kindly provided by Martin Päckert and Swen Renner. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for helping improve the manuscript. The project protocol was approved by LSU’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (#16-039). Financial support was provided by the National Geographic Society (8753-10), NSF DEB-0228688 and DEB-1241059 to FHS, NSF DEB-1241181 and DEB-1557053 to RGM, NSF DGE-1247192 to OJ, the Coypu Foundation, and Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. All sequences generated from this project have been deposited in Genbank (accession numbers: MN991325–MN991373).

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Shakya, S.B., Irham, M., Brady, M.L. et al. Observations on the relationships of some Sundaic passerine taxa (Aves: Passeriformes) previously unavailable for molecular phylogenetic study. J Ornithol 161, 651–664 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-020-01766-9

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Keywords

  • Borneo
  • Java
  • ND2
  • Phylogeny
  • Phylogeography
  • Sumatra