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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 May;43(2):480-92. Epub 2006 Dec 23.

The relationships and origins of the New Zealand wattlebirds (Passeriformes, Callaeatidae) from DNA sequence analyses.

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  • 1Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University, Private Bag 102 904, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.


The monophyly of the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds (Callaeatidae) was examined through the sequencing of nuclear RAG-1 and c-mos genes and comparison to other passerine sequences. The New Zealand wattlebirds were strongly supported to be monophyletic and were nested within Corvida. An estimate for the time of divergence of the New Zealand wattlebirds indicated that the ancestors of this family arrived via transoceanic dispersal after the separation of New Zealand from Gondwana. Long branches separated the three New Zealand wattlebird genera from one another and relationships among them were unresolved, even in analyses including a further 1.5 kb of mitochondrial DNA sequences. However, most of the analyses supported either a basally diverging huia or kokako.

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