The Thamnophilidae is a diverse radiation of insectivorous passerine birds that comprises nearly 220 species and is mostly restricted to the lowlands and lower montane forests of the Neotropics. Current classification within Thamnophilidae relies primarily on morphological variation, but recent incorporation of molecular and vocal data has promoted changes at various taxonomic levels. Here we demonstrate that the genus Terenura is polyphyletic because Terenura callinota, T. humeralis, T. spodioptila, and T. sharpei are phylogenetically distant from the type species of the genus, Terenura maculata. More importantly, the former four species are not particularly closely related to any other thamnophilids and represent a clade that is sister to all other members of the family. Because no genus name is available for this previously undetected lineage in the Thamnophilidae, we describe the genus Euchrepomis for callinota, humeralis, spodioptila, and sharpei, and erect the subfamily Euchrepomidinae. We discuss the taxonomic and evolutionary significance of this divergent lineage. This study highlights the importance of taxonomic coverage and the inclusion of type taxa to redefine classifications to reflect accurately evolutionary relationships.
► We constructed a partial DNA-based phylogeny of the family Thamnophilidae. ► We demonstrate that the genus Terenura is polyphyletic. ► A new genus and a new subfamily are described for a subset of species currently placed in Terenura. ► We discuss the taxonomic and phylogenetic significance of this divergent lineage. ► This study emphasizes the importance of including samples of type taxa in phylogeny-based taxonomic studies.
Keywords: New subfamily; New genus; Avian systematics; Suboscines; Antwrens; Antbirds
DNA sequence data reveal a subfamily-level divergence within Thamnophilidae (Aves: Passeriformes)