Thursday, December 31, 2020

[Ornithology • 2021] Genus Epinecrophylla • Systematics of A Neotropical Clade of Dead-leaf-foraging Antwrens (Aves: Thamnophilidae)

Epinecrophylla spp.

in Johnson, Howard & Brumfield, 2021. 

• Comprehensive taxon and population-level sampling for thousands of genetic markers.
• Well-resolved phylogeny for the group.
• Three broadly sympatric Amazonian species complexes.
• Paraphyly at the species and subspecies levels.

The stipple-throated antwrens of the genus Epinecrophylla (Aves: Thamnophilidae) are represented by eight species primarily found in the lowlands of the Amazon Basin and the Guiana Shield. The genus has a long and convoluted taxonomic history, with many attempts made to address the taxonomy and systematics of the group. Here we employ massively parallel sequencing of thousands of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) to provide both the most comprehensive subspecies-level phylogeny of Epinecrophylla antwrens and the first population-level genetic analyses for most species in the genus. Most of our results are robust to a diversity of phylogenetic and population genetic methods, but we show that even with thousands of loci we are unable to fully resolve the relationships between some western Amazonian species in the haematonota group. We uncovered phylogenetic relationships between taxa and patterns of population structure that are discordant with both morphology and current taxonomy. For example, we found deep genetic breaks between taxa in the ornata group that are currently regarded as species, and in the haematonota and leucophthalma groups we found paraphyly at the species and subspecies levels, respectively. As has been found in many Amazonian taxa, our phylogenetic results show that the major river systems of the Amazon Basin appear to have an effect on the genetic structure and range limits within Epinecrophylla. Our population genetics analyses showed extensive admixture between some taxa despite their deep genetic divergence. We present a revised taxonomy for the group and suggest areas for further study.
 Keywords: Systematics, Ultraconserved elements, Phylogenomics, Epinecrophylla, Amazonia


 Oscar Johnson, Jeffrey T. Howard and Robb T. Brumfield. 2021. Systematics of A Neotropical Clade of Dead-leaf-foraging Antwrens (Aves: Thamnophilidae; Epinecrophylla). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 154, 106962. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106962