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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2009 Dec;53(3):613-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2009.06.014. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Phylogenetic relationships of flowerpeckers (Aves: Dicaeidae): novel insights into the evolution of a tropical passerine clade.

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The University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute, Dyche Hall, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.


Understanding the relationships and evolution of flowerpeckers has been challenging, particularly as no phylogenetic study has as yet assessed the group. Here, we present a first such analysis of this clade based on sequences of two mitochondrial genes and one nuclear intron. Our analyses offer strong support for monophyly of the Dicaeidae. Within the family, 4 Dicaeum species (D. chrysorrheum, D. melanoxanthum, D. agile, and D. everetii) had closer affinity to Prionochilus, although tests of alternative topologies could not reject reciprocal monophyly of the two genera. Across the family, overall bill shape trends from more stout bills basally to more slender and medium bills, whereas sexual dichromatism and plumage patterns show much more homoplasy. Taxonomically, generic allocations may need to be changed to reflect historical relationships better.

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