Phylogenetic relationships of the white-throated Barbtail, Premnoplex tatei (Furnariidae), an endemic of the northeastern mountain range of Venezuela

Jorge L. Pérez-Emán, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de Ciencias
Laura L. Hernández, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Facultad de Ciencias
Robb T. Brumfield, Louisiana State University


The White-throated Barbtail, Premnoplex tatei, is a poorly known furnariid endemic to the north-eastern mountain ranges of Venezuela. Although currently considered a distinct species, it has often been treated as a subspecies of its widespread congener, the Spotted Barbtail, P. brunnescens. Here we use mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences to assess the taxonomic status of P. tatei and its phylogenetic relationships. We found P. tatei to be the sister species of P. brunnescens, but the genetic divergence between the two species is large in comparison to that within other genera of the Furnariidae. This result is consistent with the plumage, vocal, and ecological differences used to support the recognition of P. tatei as a distinct species. Our results also corroborate previous studies in finding Premnoplex and Margarornis as sister genera. A close relationship between P. tatei and Roraimia adusta, a scenario hypothesized from the systematic affinities of taxa distributed in the northeastern mountain region of Venezuela and the Pantepui region, was not supported by this study. © The Cooper Ornithological Society 2010.