Proposal (571) to South American Classification Committee
Adopt a new generic classification for the Parulidae
Recent years have seen several partial reclassifications of the Parulidae (e. g., Klein et al. 2004, Escalante et al. 2009), and we have responded to some of them. Finally, now, there is one that is based on a thorough DNA analysis of the entire family (minus only a few species/subspecies). This is the analysis by Lovette et al. (2010).
Using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, Lovette et al. used several analyses to establish a phylogenetic hypothesis for all genera and nearly all species of the family. This new classification recognizes 14 genera corresponding to well-supported clades (see tree below). Several long-recognized generic names fall by the wayside, but there have been at least hints of some of these changes in the past. For example, Oporornis falls into Geothlypis (as in Escalante et al. 2009), Parula and Dendroica are subsumed into Setophaga, and Wilsonia disappears into Cardellina and Setophaga. Sequence within some genera also changes. This analysis also shows that some genera and species generally believed to be parulids actually have relationships elsewhere. These include the genera Icteria and Granatellus, and extralimital Teretistris, Microligea, Xenoligea, and Zeledonia.
We propose that SACC adopt this classification, which is shown on the next page. Fortunately, none of this requires any gender changes in specific (or subspecific) names and no homonymies are created.
Pruning taxa not recorded in SACC area produces the following classification and sequence of genera and species derived from the figure above. Note that SACC differs from NACC in treating Leiothlypis as separate from Oreothlypis.
* Myiothlypis basilica
** Basileuterus griseiceps
* not sampled by Lovette et al., but subsequently shown to be the sister to Myiothlypis luteoviridis by Gutiérrez-Pinto et al. 2012 (Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2012)
** not sampled by Lovette et al., but placed here based on plumage similarities to B. tristriatus group noted by Hellmayr (1935) and Ridgely & Tudor (1989).
Escalante, P., L. Márquez-Valdelamar, P. de la Torre, J. P. Laclette, and J. Klicka. 2009. Evolutionary history of a prominent North American warbler clade: the Oporornis-Geothlypis complex. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53: 668-678.
Klein, N. K., K. J. Burns, S. J. Hackett, and C. S. Griffiths. 2004. Molecular phylogenetic relationships among the wood warblers (Parulidae) and historical biogeography in the Caribbean basin. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 17:3-17.
Lovette, I. J., J. I. Pérez-Emán, J. P. Sullivan, R. C. Banks, I. Fiorentino, S. Córdoba-Córdoba, M. Echeverry-Galvis, F. K. Barker, K. J. Burns, J. Klicka, S. M. Lanyon, and E. Bermingham. 2010. A comprehensive multilocus phylogeny for the wood-warblers and a revised classification of the Parulidae (Aves). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57: 753-770.
Richard C. Banks (with modifications for South America by Van Remsen)
Comments from Stiles: “YES. Given the quantity and quality of the genetic evidence, I don’t see any reason not to accept this proposal, even though some long-established names go by the boards. The diagnoses of a number of these genera were pretty marginal in any case – there have long been doubts regarding distinguishing Parula, Vermivora and Dendroica, or Oporornis and Geothlypis (and Wilsonia).”
Comments from Zimmer: “YES. The genetic evidence seems pretty conclusive, and we’ve already made serious strides in this direction anyway.”
Comments from Pacheco: “YES, Due to coverage of taxa sampled and the quality of this analysis in this paper.”
Comments from Nores: “YES, but I would put Mniotilta varia and Protonotaria citrea after Parkesia motacilla
Parkesia motacilla Mniotilta varia
Response to Nores from Remsen: “Concerning the placement of Parkesia vs. Mniotilta + Protonotaria, Manuel is correct that this is a potential option given weak support of those interior branches, but given that NACC has already adopted the sequence above, we have no justification for differing from it without new data. Further, even if support is identical, the least-diverse branch (single genus Parkesia) goes first.”