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Molecular phylogeny and morphological change in the Psittacula parakeets

Groombridge, Jim J., Jones, Carl G., Nichols, Richard A., Carlton, Mark and Bruford, Michael William 2004. Molecular phylogeny and morphological change in the Psittacula parakeets. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (1) , pp. 96-108. 10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.008

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Abstract

We reconstruct a phylogeny of the African and Asian Psittacula parakeets using approximately 800 bp of mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence to examine their evolutionary relationships in reference to their head plumage and major morphological tail innovations. Our phylogeny identifies three groups, whose distinctiveness is also apparent from their possession of three different head plumage characters: a neck ring, a distinctive colouration of the head, and a ‘moustache’-shaped pattern that extends from the chin to the cheek. We examine the extent of sexual dimorphism in tail length across the phylogeny and reveal large differences between closely related forms. We apply a range of published avian cytochrome b substitution rates to our data, as an alternative to internal calibration of a molecular clock arising from incomplete paleontological information. An ancestral Psittacula form appears to have evolved during the late Miocene-early Pliocene (3.4–9.7 MYA), a time when regional geological processes on the Asian continent may have promoted subsequent diversity at the species level, and many forms diverged relatively early on in the evolutionary history of Psittacula (between 2.5 and 7.7 MYA). However, others, such as the derbyan and moustached parakeets, diverged as recently as 0.2 MYA. Our phylogeny also suggests that the echo parakeet from Mauritius diverged from the Indian ringneck parakeet as opposed to the African ringneck, and may have done so relatively recently. The molecular results indicate support for a southwards radiation from India across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius, where the arrival-date of the echo parakeet appears consistent with the island’s volcanic formation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1055-7903
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:42
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/63902

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