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The use of mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data in assessing the taxonomic status of the endangered Uluguru Bush Shrike Malaconotus alius

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The endangered Uluguru Bush Shrike Malaconotus alius is a large, black-headed bush shrike, strictly endemic to the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania. It has recently been suggested that this species has been misplaced within the genus Malaconotus and might instead be related to Malagasy Vangidae. To assess its systematic affinities, we analysed 1518 bp of sequence data obtained from a nuclear intron (myoglobin intron-2) and a mitochondrial protein-coding gene (ND2) using parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. Both genes strongly support the traditional placement within the genus Malaconotus, suggesting that similarities between the Uluguru Bush Shrike and the Vangidae are due to convergence. These results caution that taxonomic changes should not be made without a proper character analysis (i.e. assignment of character homology).

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: October 1, 2005


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