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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Jun;31(3):943-60.

Phylogeny and evolution of the Australo-Papuan honeyeaters (Passeriformes, Meliphagidae).

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  • 1Division of Birds, Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605, USA.


We analyzed nucleotide variation at four loci for 75 species to produce a phylogenetic hypothesis for the Meliphagidae, and to examine the evolution and biogeographic history of the Meliphagidae. Both maximum parsimony and Bayesian methods of phylogenetic analysis were employed. The family was found to be monophyletic, though the genera Certhionyx, Anthochaera, and Phylidonyris were not. Four major clades were recovered and the spinebills (Acanthorhynchus) formed the sister clade to the remainder of the family in most analyses. The Australian endemic arid-adapted chats (Epthianura, Ashbyia) were found to be nested deeply within the family Meliphagidae. No evidence was found to support the hypothesis of separate New Guinean and Australian endemic radiations, nor of a close phylogenetic relationship between taxa from the New Guinea highlands and those from Australian northern rainforests.

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