Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Parrot interrelationships – morphology and the new molecular phylogenies

Gerald Mayr

Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Sektion Ornithologie, Senckenberganlage 25, D-60325 Frankfurt a.M., Germany. Email: gerald.mayr@senckenberg.de

Emu 110(4) 348-357 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU10035
Submitted: 12 May 2010  Accepted: 6 August 2010   Published: 30 November 2010

Abstract

Molecular analyses have started to provide a congruent picture of parrot interrelationships but the affinities of some taxa remain uncertain and there have been few attempts to correlate the new molecular phylogenies with anatomical characters. In the present study, anatomical features that were traditionally used to classify parrots are mapped onto the molecular tree topologies. Some characters show a high degree of homoplasy but the distributions of others correlate well with the molecular phylogenies. The morphology of the hypotarsus indicates a clade including the core-Platycercini and Loricoloriinae excluding Neophema and Neopsephotus. The lack of the ambiens muscle suggests a sister-group relationship between Coracopsis and Psittrichas, whose affinities are not congruently resolved by molecular data; a derived pattern of the carotid arteries indicates a position of these two taxa within a clade including Psittacus, Poicephalus and the Arini. Within the Arini, a clade including the long-tailed New World parrots is supported by the derived presence of unusually small narial openings, whereas a clade including some of the short-tailed taxa is supported by the loss of the ambiens muscle.


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