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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Feb;38(2):381-97. Epub 2005 Jul 27.

Phylogeny and classification of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea.

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Department of Vertebrate Zoology and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Swedish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden.


Sylvioidea is one of the three superfamilies recognized within the largest avian radiation, the parvorder Passerida. In the present study, which is the first taxon-dense analysis of the Sylvioidea based on sequence data (nuclear myoglobin intron II and mitochondrial cytochrome b gene), we investigate the interrelationships among the four "sylvioid" clades found by previous workers, as well as the relationships within the largest of these clades. The nuclear and mitochondrial loci estimate basically the same phylogeny, with minor differences in resolution. The trees based on myoglobin and the combined data identify a strongly supported clade that includes the taxa previously allocated to Sylvioidea, except for Sitta (nuthatches), Certhia (treecreepers), Parus (tits), Remiz (penduline tits), Troglodytes and Campylorhynchus (wrens), Polioptila (gnatcatchers), and Regulus (crests/kinglets); this clade also comprises larks, which have previously been placed in the superfamily Passeroidea. We refer to this clade as Sylvioidea. This clade is further divided into 10 main, well-supported clades, which we suggest form the basis for a revised classification.

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