Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Short Note

DNA sequences from the Little Brown Bustard Eupodotis humilis suggest its close phylogenetic relationship to the Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax

José Luis Horreo, Juan Carlos Alonso, Borja Milá


Taxonomic classification of birds based exclusively on morphology and plumage traits has often been found to be inconsistent with true evolutionary history when tested with molecular phylogenies based on neutrally evolving markers. Here we present cytochrome-b gene sequences for the poorly known Little Brown Bustard Eupodotis humilis and analyse it in a phylogenetic context together with all other bustard species in the family Otididae. Our results suggest that this species is more closely related to the Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax than to other members of the Eupodotis genus. This finding is consistent with previous results suggesting polyphyly in the genus Eupodotis and with the fact that many of the phenotypic traits used to classify members of the family Otiidae are not phylogenetically informative.

Keywords: bustard, convergence, Eupodotis humilis, Eupodotis vigorsii, Otididae, Tetrax tetrax

OSTRICH 2014, 85(1): 97–101

AJOL African Journals Online