Proposal (551) to South American Classification Committee

 

Change linear sequence of genera in Charadriidae

 

Background:  Our current sequence of genera in the plovers is as follows:

 

Vanellus

Pluvialis

Charadrius

Phegornis

Oreopholus

 

New Evidence:  Recent DNA sequence data from the Allan Baker lab has shown that this sequence does not reflect phylogenetic relationships.  The new findings on Pluvialis are summarized in our footnote:

 

5. Some data indicated that Pluvialis might not belong in the Charadriidae but rather (Ericson et al. 2003) sister to the Charadriidae + (Recurvirostridae + Haematopodidae) or (Baker et al. 2007, Fain & Houde 2007) sister to Recurvirostridae + Haematopodidae.  The distinctiveness of Pluvialis compared to other plover-like birds was first elucidated by Christian et al. (1992).  However, Baker et al. (2012), with much improved gene sampling than in previous studies, found that Pluvialis is indeed in the Charadriidae, sister to other plover genera.

 

In other words, initial findings indicated, to much surprise, that Pluvialis might be more closely related to other Charadrii families, and would thus require its own family.  However, more thorough gene sampling revealed that Pluvialis was sister to all other plovers.  [This, by the way, is an excellent example of why odd findings should require corroboration with additional data.]

 

With respect to Oreopholus, our current footnote is as follows:

 

17. Some authors follow Bock (1958) in merging Oreopholus into Eudromias when that genus considered separate from Charadrius.  Baker et al. (2007) indicate that Oreopholus is the sister to a group of genera that includes Phegornis and Charadrius.  Livezey’s (2010) analysis of phenotypic characters supports retention of a monotypic genus for ruficollis.  Baker et al. (2012) found that Oreopholus was sister to Vanellus + Charadrius.  Proposal needed to change linear sequence of genera in Charadriidae.

 

Baker et al.’s summary tree is as follows (although the conflict among the various single gene trees is enlightening):

 

BakerPloverTree.jpg

 

Tangentially, the Charadriidae have often been divided into two subfamilies: the lapwings (Vanellinae) and the plovers (Charadriidae).  We do not use subfamilies and should continue to avoid them until taxon sampling has been improved.  First, we would need to have at least 4 subfamilies (Pluvialinae, “Oreopholinae”, Vanellinae, Charadriinae).  Second, the type species of Vanellus itself has yet to be sampled as far as I know; the Baker et al. studies of Vanellus are based on V. chilensis, which was formerly placed in the genus Belonopterus.  Third, most species of lapwings were placed in separate genera until Bock (1958) – there is a lot of morphological diversity in Vanellus that was combined into one genus, including our own V. cayanus, which many think may be closer to Charadrius (see our SACC footnote) and should be returned to its monotypic genus Hoploxypterus.  Because Bock was clearly way off in his merger of Oreopholus into Eudromias (now merged into Charadrius) in the same paper, my confidence in his merger of all lapwing genera into Vanellus is not high.  Fifth, the Australian genus Peltohyas is sister to Charadrius in Baker et al. (2012) but to Vanellus in Baker et al. (2007).  Clearly, a lot more work is needed on plovers to sort this all out.

 

Recommendation:  So that our sequence reflects the latest and best phylogenetic data (Baker et al. 2012), it should be as follows, using the standard conventions:

 

Pluvialis

Oreopholus

Vanellus

Charadrius

Phegornis

 

Literature:

 

BAKER, A. J., S. L. PEREIRA, AND T. P. PATON.  2007.  Phylogenetic relationships and divergence times of Charadriiformes genera: multigene evidence for the Cretaceous origin of at least 14 clades of shorebirds.  Biology Letters 3: 205–209.

BAKER, A. J., Y. YATSENKO, AND E. S. TAVARES.  2012.  Eight independent nuclear genes support monophyly of the plovers: the role of mutational variance in gene trees.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65: 631-641.

BOCK, W. J. 1958. A generic review of the plovers (Charadriinae, Aves). Bulletin Museum Comparative Zoology 118: 27-97.

 

Van Remsen, October 2012

 

 

Comments from Stiles: “YES.  The proposed sequence best represents the current state of knowledge.”

 

Comments from Pacheco: “YES.  A sequźncia sugerida se coaduna com o mais recente trabalho.”