Systematics of Serinus canaries and the status of Cape and Yellow-crowned Canaries inferred from mtDNA and morphology

  • P G Ryan DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • D Wright DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • G Oatley DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • J Wakeling DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • C Cohen DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • T L Nowell Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • R CK Bowie Department of Zoology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
  • V Ward Western Cape Nature Conservation Board and Avian Demography Unit, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • T M Crowe DST Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
Keywords: Serinus canaries, Yellow-crowned Canaries, mtDNA, morphology

Abstract

The taxonomy of, and phylogenetic relationships among, African canaries typically assigned to the genus Serinussensu lato (including the putative genera Alario, Pseudochloroptila, i>Serinops, Ochrospiza, Dendrospiza and Crithagra) were investigated, based on 823bp of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Two clades emerged: (1) Palaearctic and Afrotropical taxa, including Serinus serinus, S. canaria, A. alario and the S. canicollis complex (S. c. canicollis, thompsonae and flavivertex), and (2) taxa endemic to the Afrotropics comprising Pseudochloroptila, i>Serinops, Ochrospiza, Poliospiza, Dendrospiza, Poliospiza and Crithagra spp. However, only clade one has jackknife and bootstrap support values above 50. The two clades were separated by Carduelis taxa, suggesting that Serinussensu lato is not monophyletic. As it stands, the phylogeny does not support the recognition of Alario and Serinops and possibly Ochrospiza, Dendrospiza and Pseudochloroptila (Cape siskins) as distinct genera. Alario is sister to Serinus canicollis whereas the others are intermingled in a clade comprised primarily by Crithagra spp. The use of Serinus is confined to the Palaearctic canaries and allied species, and Crithagra for the strictly Afrotropical clade. Since the cytochrome b sequence divergence between the allopatric Cape (S. [c.] canicollis) and Yellow-crowned (S. [c.] flavivertex) canaries (2.8%) was similar to differences between other closely-related species and there are marked plumage differences between these taxa, we suggest that they be elevated to full species rank.

Ostrich 2004, 75(4): 288–294
Published
2005-02-23
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525