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Polyphyletic arrangements in DNA phylogenies are often indicators of cryptic species diversity masked by erroneous taxonomic treatments that are frequently based on morphological data. Although mitochondrial (mt)DNA polyphyly is detected relatively rarely in phylogenetic studies, it has recently been found in a variety of tyrant-flycatcher (Tyrannidae) groups. In the present study, we provide a DNA phylogeny for a mitochondrial and a nuclear locus with a complete species sampling in Zimmerius flycatchers, showing that the genus is characterized by multiple mtDNA polyphyly. Based on phylogenetic and life-history information, we suggest the elevation of a number of taxa to species status, leading to a doubling of Zimmerius species-level diversity compared to taxonomic treatments conducted before 2001. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London.

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Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

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