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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 111(3)

Systematic dismantlement of Lichenostomus improves the basis for understanding relationships within the honeyeaters (Meliphagidae) and the historical development of Australo-Papuan bird communities

Árpád S. Nyári A C and Leo Joseph B

A The University of Kansas, Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Boulevard, Dyche Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.
B Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, GPO Box 284, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: arpinyari@gmail.com

Emu 111(3) 202-211 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU10047
Submitted: 17 June 2010  Accepted: 3 December 2010   Published: 17 August 2011

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Evaluations of relationships among honeyeaters (Passeriformes : Meliphagidae) have used dense taxon and nucleotide sampling. Here we focus on the systematically contentious meliphagid genus Lichenostomus. We use data from two molecular markers that were common to two major recent studies, the mitochondrial protein-coding gene ND2 and the nuclear intron Fib5. Based on complete species-level sampling of Lichenostomus, we confirm the recent finding that Lichenostomus is not monophyletic. We recover seven distinct lineages dispersed within the meliphagid assemblage. Two uniform and unadorned species, the White-gaped (L. unicolor) and Yellow (L. flavus) Honeyeaters, were sister species close to some other taxa currently placed in Lichenostomus. The only two mangrove specialists, the Varied (L. versicolor) and Mangrove (L. fasciogularis) Honeyeaters from north-eastern and central-eastern Australia respectively, were not sister-species, but the former was sister to the pair comprising Mangrove Honeyeater and the widespread Singing Honeyeater (L. virescens). Two endemic New Guinean species, the Obscure (L. obscurus) and Black-throated (L. subfrenatus) Honeyeaters, are a sister pair to the Yellow-faced Honeyeater (L. chrysops) of eastern Australia. We suggest a revised generic nomenclature for the species recently placed in Lichenostomus and erect one new genus-group name, Bolemoreus, to include two species that have been previously grouped in Caligavis.


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