© 2019 Dendrocincla woodcreepers are ant-following birds widespread throughout tropical America. Species in the genus are widely distributed and show little phenotypic variation. Notwithstanding, several subspecies have been described, but the validity of some of these taxa and the boundaries among them have been discussed for decades. Recent genetic evidence based on limited sampling has pointed to the paraphyly of D. fuliginosa, showing that its subspecies constitute a complex that also includes D. anabatina and D. turdina. In this study we sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial markers for over two hundred individuals belonging to the D. fuliginosa complex to recover phylogenetic relationships, describe intraspecific genetic diversity and provide historical biogeographic scenarios of diversification. Our results corroborate the paraphyly of D. fuliginosa, with D. turdina and D. anabatina nested within its recognized subspecies. Recovered genetic lineages roughly match the distributions of described subspecies and congruence among phylogenetic structure, phenotypic diagnosis and distribution limits were used to discuss current systematics and taxonomy within the complex, with special attention to Northern South America. Our data suggest the origin of the complex in western Amazonia, associated with the establishment of upland forests in the area during the early Pliocene. Paleoclimatic cycles and river rearrangements during the Pleistocene could have, at different times, both facilitated dispersal across large Amazonian rivers and the Andes and isolated populations, likely playing an important role in differentiation of extant species. Previously described hybridization in the headwaters of the Tapajós river represents a secondary contact of non-sister lineages that cannot be used to test the role of the river as primary source of diversification. Based on comparisons of D. fuliginosa with closely related understory upland forest taxa, we suggest that differential habitat use could influence diversification processes in a historically changing landscape, and should be considered for proposing general mechanisms of diversification.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Schultz, E., Pérez-Emán, J., Aleixo, A., Miyaki, C., Brumfield, R., Cracraft, J., & Ribas, C. (2019). Diversification history in the Dendrocincla fuliginosa complex (Aves: Dendrocolaptidae): Insights from broad geographic sampling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 140 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2019.106581