Historical biogeography of tits (Aves: Paridae, Remizidae)
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Tits (Aves: Paroidea) are distributed all over the northern hemisphere and tropical Africa, with highest species numbers in China and the Afrotropic. In order to find out if these areas are also the centers of origin, ancestral areas were reconstructed based on a molecular phylogeny. The Bayesian phylogenetic reconstruction was based on sequences for three mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene. This phylogeny confirmed most of the results of previous studies, but also indicated that the Remizidae are not monophyletic and that, in particular, Cephalopyrus flammiceps is sister to the Paridae. Four approaches, parsimony- and likelihood-based ones, were applied to derive the areas occupied by ancestors of 75 % of the extant species for which sequence data were available. The common ancestor of the Paridae and the Remizidae inhabited tropical Africa and China. The Paridae, as well as most of its (sub)genera, originated in China, but Baeolophus originated in the Nearctic and Cyanistes in the Western Palearctic. Almost all biogeographic reconstruction methods produced similar results, but those which consider the likelihood of the transition from one area to another should be preferred.
KeywordsLagrange S-DIVA Weighted ancestral area analysis Mesquite ancestral states reconstruction package Passeriformes
T.D. Price motivated this study. Many colleagues have shared their DNA sequences on GenBank. D.C. Outlaw explained how to perform Weighted Ancestral Area Analyses and C.D. Buchanan helped with coding this in R. J. Martens and M. Päckert shared their long-lasting experience on parid systematics and phylogeography as well as sequences for Cephalopyrus flammiceps with us and commented on an early draft of this paper. D.T.T. was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ti 679/1-1, Ti 679/2-1). Some sequencing was supported by the NSF (USA). Two reviewers and the (guest) editors helped to improve the paper. Many cordial thanks are owing to all friends, colleagues and organizations mentioned.
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