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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Feb;38(2):488-98. Epub 2005 Oct 26.

Local origin and diversification among Lampornis hummingbirds: a Mesoamerican taxon.

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  • 1Max Planck Institiute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Schlossalleé 2, D-78315 Radolfzell, Germany.


The huge biodiversity found in Mesoamerica is often explained by its geographic situation as a natural bridge between two large biogeographic regions. Often overlooked, however, are the high levels of speciation and diversification in the area. Here we assess the phylogenetic relationships within a Mesoamerican group of hummingbirds (Lampornis). We sequenced both mtDNA (1,143 bp of cyt b and 727 bp of ND5) and nuclear genes (505 bp of AK-5 intron and 567 bp of c-mos) for each of the seven recognised species and outgroups. We find two or three clades of similar age within this genus: L. clemenciae and L. amethystinus (singly or as each other's sister taxa) and a Central American clade. This Central-American clade presents a clear bipartition between northern (L. viridipallens and L. sybillae) and southern Mesoamerica, which is shared with many other Mesoamerican organisms. Our analyses suggest that L. hemileucus does not belong in the genus Lampornis. While we refrain to apply a time-scale to our data because of the lack of an appropriate calibration, our results indicate that the genus Lampornis predates the uprising of the Panama land-bridge, and that diversification among the isthmian species (L. castaneoventris and L. calolaema) is a very recent event. Our results strongly suggest a local Mesoamerican origin for this genus.

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