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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Mar;30(3):663-75.

Molecular systematics in Aratinga parakeets: species limits and historical biogeography in the 'solstitialis' group, and the systematic position of Nandayus nenday.

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Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, R. do Matão 277, 05508-090 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


The parrot genus Aratinga comprises 20 species that can be separated, based on morphological characters, in at least three distinct groups. We performed a phylogenetic analysis based on mtDNA sequences of individuals belonging to the solstitialis group with the objectives of: (1) assessing the genetic differences among individuals in order to clarify their specific status; (2) testing the monophyly of the group and establishing its phylogenetic position relative to other Aratinga species, (3) making inferences about temporal and geographical patterns of diversification in the Neotropics. As a result of the analysis, the three taxa belonging to the Aratinga solstitialis complex were found to be diagnosable phylogenetic species, the monotypic genus Nandayus was found to be included in the solstitialis group and the non-monophyly of the genus Aratinga was confirmed. Most of the speciation events occurred during the Pliocene and Pleistocene and may be related to habitat shifts associated to climate oscillation during these periods.

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