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Phylogenetic relationships of fantails (Aves: Rhipiduridae)

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Nyári, Á. S., Benz, B. W., Jønsson, K. A., Fjeldså, J. & Moyle, R. G. (2009). Phylogenetic relationships of fantails (Aves: Rhipiduridae). — Zoologica Scripta, 38, 553–561.

We explore the phylogenetic relationships of fantails (Aves: Rhipiduridae) using molecular characters derived from two nuclear introns and two mitochondrial genes. Our results indicate that Rhipidura hypoxantha is not a true fantail, but rather a member of the Stenostiridae clade that is morphologically and behaviourally convergent with fantails. Within the true Rhipiduridae, we identified six distinct clades; however, phylogenetic relationships among these groups were unresolved. The only well-supported sister relationship was between members of the grey and the rufous fantail complexes. Clades recovered through our model-based phylogenetic analyses generally correspond to previously proposed fantail complexes based on morphological characters. The phylogenetic position of R. atra and R. diluta remain unclear, as sister relationships varied between analyses for the prior whereas the latter was placed as sister to the New Guinea thicket fantails, R. leucothorax and R. threnothorax; yet significant node support was not recovered for either taxa. Biogeographically, fantails appear to have radiated rapidly and the six clades are not geographically restricted, but instead span South-east Asia, New Guinea, Australia and Pacific Islands.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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