Radiation of Atlantic goldcrests Regulus regulus spp.: evidence of a new taxon from the Canary Islands

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:Päckert, M, Dietzen, C, Martens, J, Wink, M, Kvist, L
Journal:Journal of Avian Biology
Date Published:2006
ISBN Number:1600-048X
Keywords:Fringillidae, Japan, Regulidae, Regulus, Regulus regulus, Serinus, Serinus canaria
Abstract:Phylogenetic relationships between goldcrest populations from the Atlantic Islands (Azores and Canary Islands) were investigated by two molecular markers (mitochondrial control region and cytochrome b sequences), and partly by morphology and territorial song. The Azorean goldcrest populations are closely related to European nominate R. r. regulus. Most probably, the Azores were colonized by goldcrests in a single late-pleistocene invasion, while colonization of the Canary Islands presumably occurred in two steps: An early invasion to Tenerife and La Gomera 1.9–2.3 million years (my) ago and a more recent one to El Hierro and La Palma 1.3–1.8 my ago. Distribution of haplotypes on the Azores suggests a division of R. r. azoricus on São Miguel into an eastern population with close affinities to R. r. sanctaemariae and a western population belonging to the lineage of R. r. inermis on the central and western island group. The Canarian populations are genetically substructured into a northeastern group embracing Tenerife and La Gomera and a second, southwestern group including El Hierro and La Palma. Genetic distances between members of the two Canarian clades range at 3.1–3.4% (TrN distance, control region and cytochrome b). Differentiation between the two groups is also supported by morphology and by territorial song. Substitution rate estimates for the both genes range at approximately the same values of 0.0031 and 0.0044 substitutions per site and lineage per my which roughly corresponds 0.61–0.83% divergence between Regulus lineages per my. Highest local rates occur in island clades of the Azorean and the Canarian population and in R. r. japonensis from the Russian Far East and Japan. However, a general acceleration of a molecular clock in island populations is not evident from the Regulus data set due to extremely low local rate estimates in the Canarian clade of Tenerife and La Gomera. As a taxonomic consequence of the marked differentiation of the two Canarian goldcrest clades the populations from El Hierro and La Palma are described as a taxon new to science and are named Regulus regulus ellenthalerae n. ssp.
Short Title:Journal of Avian Biology
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