Thursday, October 31, 2013

[Ornithology • 2013] Arremon kuehnerii | Guerrero Brush Finch • A New Species of Brush-Finch (Arremon; Emberizidae) from western Mexico

Arremon kuehnerii Guerrero Brush Finch and sister taxon, central-Mexican-endemic, A. virenticeps Green-striped Brush Finch 

A new highland species of chestnut-capped Arremon brush-finch is described from the Sierra Madre del Sur of central Guerrero. This form, although indistinguishable in external phenotype from adjacent populations to the east in Oaxaca, is dramatically differentiated in mitochondrial DNA sequence characters, and quite unexpectedly is the sister lineage to the very distinct (phenotype and genotype), central-Mexican-endemic A. virenticeps. Nuclear sequence differentiation in the new lineage is more subtle than in mitochondrial DNA, but is on par with that in the well-marked A. virenticeps. The new species is thus distinct from its sister lineage in genotype and phenotype, and clearly distinct from all other forms in genotype; however, it has retained an ancestral external phenotype similar to other members of the broader A. brunneinucha complex.

Keywords: cloud forest, cryptic species, Mesoamerica, new species, species complex, species limits

This painting shows three Arremon brush-finches: top – Arremon brunneinucha brunneinucha,
middle – the newly discovered Arremon kuehnerii; bottom – Arremon virenticeps.

Navarro-Sigüenza AG et al. 2013. A New Species of Brush-Finch (Arremon; Emberizidae) from western Mexico. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 125 (3): 443-453; doi:

Guerrero Brush Finch: New Bird Species Found in Mexico
An international team of ornithologists led by Dr Townsend Peterson from the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute has discovered a new species of brush-finch that lives in the cloud forests of the mountain range Sierra Madre del Sur in central Guerrero, Mexico.