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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 Dec;45(3):840-62. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

Phylogeographic patterns in widespread corvid birds.

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Museum of Natural History Vienna, 1st Zoological Department, Burgring 7, A-1010 Vienna, Austria.


Intraspecific genetic diversity and phylogeography of Corvus corone was investigated using the mitochondrial (mt) control region as a molecular marker. A split into two distinct mt lineages was observed. One represents individuals from a wide geographic range spanning from England to the Russian Far East (Kamchatka), while the other one was found in the Primorye and Khabarovsk regions (southern parts of Russian Far East) as well as Japan. For comparison, we investigated several widespread Palearctic corvid taxa with respect to their phylogeographic patterns. A deep split into two lineages was revealed in five cases: Besides C. corone, within Corvus frugilegus, Pica pica, and between the species pairs Corvus monedula-Corvus dauuricus and Cyanopica cyanus-Cyanopica cooki. Although these taxa display a variety of distribution patterns, from disjunct, para/allopatric to continuous, the genetic pattern and level of divergence between clades is very similar. This implies that the differentiation started in about the same time range. In contrast, no differentiation into highly divergent lineages was detected in Corvus corax, Perisoreus infaustus, and Nucifraga caryocatactes. We try to explain the two phylogeographic patterns in corvid birds with ecological factors accompanying the changing climatic conditions during the Pleistocene. The deep genetic splits within several widely distributed Palearctic corvids are discussed with respect to taxonomic questions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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