These authors contributed equally to the study and both should be considered first authors.
Deep phylogeographic divergence of a migratory passerine in Sino-Himalayan and Siberian forests: the Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) complex
Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 4, Issue 7, pages 977–986, April 2014
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2014; 4(7):977–986
- Issue published online: 7 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 27 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 13 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Received: 25 JUL 2013
- National Natural Science Foundation of China-Guangdong Joint Fund. Grant Number: U0833005
- National Natural Science Foundation of China. Grant Numbers: 31172067, 31201709, 31200327
- Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China. Grant Number: 2010B060200034
- Sun Yat-sen University, China
- Sex chromosome;
- species delimitation;
- Tarsiger cyanurus complex;
- the phylogenetic species concept
Enormous mountainous forests in Sino-Himalayans and Siberia harbor important avian biodiversity in the Northern Hemisphere. Numerous studies in last two decades have been contributed to systematics and taxonomy of passerines birds in these regions and have revealed various and complex phylogeographic patterns. A passerine species Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus provided a good system to manifest such evolutionary complexity. The subspecies T. c. cyanurus and T. c. rufilatus (or/and T. c. pallidior), divergent in morphology, acoustics, and migratory strategies are allopatric in Siberia and Sino-Himalayan forests, respectively. The two taxa most likely deserve full species status but rigorous genetic analysis is missing. In this study, multilocus phylogeography based on mitochondrial DNA and Z-linked DNA reveals that T. c. cyanurus and T. c. rufilatus are reciprocally monophyletic with significant statistical support and differ with a large number of diagnostic nucleotide sites resulting substantial genetic divergence. Our finding supports the proposed split of Tarsiger cyanurus s.l. that T. cyanurus and T. rufilatus should be treated as two full species. Whether “pallidior” is a subspecies or geographical form of T. rufilatus is still uncertain. Additionally, these two forest passerine species may have diverged 1.88 (3.25–1.30) Mya, which might be shaped by geographical vicariance due to grassland and desert steppe on the central Loess Plateau during the Pliocene. Taken together, this study and further suggests another independent example of North Palearctic–Sino-Himalayan phylogeographic pattern in Palearctic birds.