Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Affinities of the Aberrant Australo-Papuan Honeyeaters, Toxorhamphus, Oedistoma, Timeliopsis and Epthianura - Protein Evidence

L Christidis, R Schodde and NA Robinson

Australian Journal of Zoology 41(5) 423 - 432
Published: 1993


Allozyme variation at 18 presumptive loci among 15 species of Australo-Papuan passerines was used to clarify the affinities of the aberrant genera Toxorhamphus, Oedistoma, Timeliopsis and Epthianura, all conventionally associated with honeyeaters (Meliphagidae). Both distance-based and discrete-state phylogenetic analyses were performed on the data. The analyses corroborated results from DNA-DNA hybridisation studies that Toxorhamphus and Oedistoma are not honeyeaters, but in fact are related to the berrypeckers and flowerpeckers Melanocharis and Dicaeum. Oedistoma iliolophus was found to be more closely allied to Melanocharis than to Toxorhamphus. This result is consistent with generic separation of O. iliolophus from Toxorhamphus, contrary to groupings interpreted from DNA-DNA hybridisation data. Timeliopsis was identified as a typical honeyeater despite the atypical form of its tongue. Epthianura was also aligned with the honeyeaters but, contrary to analysis by DNA-DNA hybridisation, only as a sister-group of the core honeyeater assemblage.

© CSIRO 1993

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