Proposal (633) to South American Classification Committee

 

 

Modify linear sequence of genera and species in Emberizidae

 

 

Effect on SACC:  This would modify the linear sequence of genera and species to reflect the recently published phylogeny of the family by Klicka et al. (2014).

 

Background: The current sequence is listed below.  It is based largely on historical momentum and reflects the transfer of many genera to the Thraupidae and the transfer of Chlorospingus to the family.

 

Melospiza lincolnii

Zonotrichia capensis

Ammodramus savannarum

Ammodramus humeralis

Ammodramus aurifrons

Rhynchospiza stolzmanni

Rhynchospiza strigiceps

Arremonops tocuyensis

Arremonops conirostris

Arremon taciturnus

Arremon semitorquatus

Arremon franciscanus

Arremon flavirostris

Arremon aurantiirostris

Arremon schlegeli

Arremon abeillei

Arremon brunneinucha

Arremon atricapillus

Arremon basilicus

Arremon perijanus

Arremon phaeopleurus

Arremon phygas

Arremon assimilis

Arremon torquatus

Arremon castaneiceps

Oreothraupis arremonops

Atlapetes albofrenatus

Atlapetes semirufus

Atlapetes personatus

Atlapetes albinucha

Atlapetes melanocephalus

Atlapetes pallidinucha

Atlapetes flaviceps

Atlapetes fuscoolivaceus

Atlapetes tricolor

Atlapetes leucopis

Atlapetes latinuchus

Atlapetes blancae

Atlapetes rufigenis

Atlapetes forbesi

Atlapetes melanopsis

Atlapetes schistaceus

Atlapetes leucopterus

Atlapetes albiceps

Atlapetes pallidiceps

Atlapetes seebohmi

Atlapetes nationi

Atlapetes canigenis

Atlapetes terborghi

Atlapetes melanolaemus

Atlapetes rufinucha

Atlapetes fulviceps

Atlapetes citrinellus

Chlorospingus flavopectus

Chlorospingus tacarcunae

Chlorospingus semifuscus

Chlorospingus parvirostris

Chlorospingus flavigularis

Chlorospingus flavovirens

Chlorospingus canigularis

 

New information: Klicka et al. (2014) produced the first comprehensive phylogeny for the family, which they further restricted to New World genera under the name Passerellidae.  They found that the Emberiza buntings and relatives are not the sister group to the New World sparrows (but that should be the topic of a separate proposal, likely to go to NACC first).  The Klicka et al. phylogeny has exceptionally strong taxon sampling (at least for mtDNA) and gene sampling (nuDNA sequenced for subset of critical taxa), so I do not think we’ll be seeing anything more detailed any time soon.  The support values for most nodes in the tree are strong:

 

 

 

 

Using our standard sequencing conventions, the following sequence reflects Klicka et al.’s Fig. 1.  I included all the taxa restricted to North and Middle America (shaded gray) for completeness, and I used indentation and skipped lines to help mimic the branching pattern.  The one area of semi-exception to the conventional rule is in Atlapetes.  If you look at the tree, you can see that there are many nodes with little or no support, and even so, Fig. 1 is based entirely on mtDNA and thus may have gene tree/species tree problems.  In fact, the *BEAST species tree in Fig. 2c shows a large polytomy among the taxa sampled except for the northern group, of which we only have A. albinucha.  The nuDNA-only tree (Fig. 2b) shows a similar pattern.  Therefore, the proposed sequence, clearly tentative, is a mix of incorporating the few solid nodes with geography, which is clearly the best predictor of relationships in the genus, not color (as I predicted in an Auk paper back in 1995 or so).  The exception to geography as a predictor of relationships would be if the Tepui species personatus is actually more closely related to a cluster of narrowly distributed species in central/southern Peru, which would be very interesting (and which has parallels, I think, in Myioborus and Myiothlypis).

 

Note that Chlorospingus flavovirens is not in Fig. 1 - -this is because Klicka et al. (2014) found that not only is it not a Chlorospingus but it is a member of the Thraupidae, not Emberizidae/Passerellidae.  Until we have a genus for flavovirens, and until we know where in the Thraupidae it goes, I suggest we leave it at the end of Chlorospingus, with appropriate footnote.

 

One of the many interesting points illuminated by the Klicka et al. (2014) that would be reflected in the new sequence is that Chlorospingus is indeed embedded in the family, but sister to everything except the enigmatic Oreothraupis.  Another is that many of us might think of our “northern” sparrows as a monophyletic group, but they are not.  Also, the “brush-finches”, Atlapetes and former Buarremon, are even more distantly related than was recognized.  (Extralimitally, note that the Pselliophorus is really just an Atlapetes, and that Ammodramus and Melozone are polyphyletic.)

 

 

Oreothraupis arremonops

 

Chlorospingus flavigularis

Chlorospingus parvirostris

 

Chlorospingus canigularis

Chlorospingus pileatus

Chlorospingus flavopectus

Chlorospingus tacarcunae

Chlorospingus inornatus

Chlorospingus semifuscus

 

[Chlorospingus flavovirens – retained here temporarily pending additional publication]

 

Rhynchospiza stolzmanni

Rhynchospiza strigiceps

Peucaea carpalis

Peucaea sumichrasti

Peucaea ruficauda

Peucaea humeralis

Peucaea mystacalis

Peucaea botterii

Peucaea cassinii

Peucaea aestivalis

                     Ammodramus savannarum

                                 Ammodramus humeralis

                                 Ammodramus aurifrons

                                             Arremonops rufivirgatus

                                             Arremonops chloronotus

 

                                             Arremonops conirostris

                                             Arremonops tocuyensis

 

“Spizella” arborea

 

Spizella passerina

Spizella pallida

Spizella atrogularis

Spizella pusilla

Spizella breweri

Spizella wortheni

Amphispiza bilineata

Amphispiza quinquestriata

 

Chondestes grammacus

Calamospiza melanocorys

 

Arremon costaricensis SS

Arremon basilicus SS

Arremon perijanus SS

Arremon atricapillus SS

Arremon phaeopleurus SS

Arremon phygas SS

Arremon assimilis SS

Arremon torquatus SS

 

Arremon aurantiirostris SS

Arremon abeillei SS

Arremon schlegeli SS

Arremon taciturnus SS

Arremon franciscanus * SS

Arremon semitorquatus SS

Arremon flavirostris SS

 

Arremon virenticeps

Arremon brunneinucha

 

Arremon crassirostris

Arremon castaneiceps

 

Passerella iliaca

 

Junco hyemalis SS

Junco phaeonotus SS

Junco vulcani SS

 

Zonotrichia capensis

Zonotrichia leucophrys

Zonotrichia atricapilla

 

Zonotrichia querula

Zonotrichia albicollis

 

Artemisiospiza nevadensis

Artemisiospiza belli

         Oriturus superciliosus

                     Pooecetes gramineus

                                 “Ammodramus”=Ammospiza lecontei

“Ammodramus”=Ammospiza maritimus

“Ammodramus”=Ammospiza s nelsoni

“Ammodramus”=Ammospiza caudacutus

“Ammodramus”=Passerherbulus bairdii

“Ammodramus”=Passerherbulus henslowii

 

Passerculus sandwichensis

 

Xenospiza baileyi

Melospiza melodia

Melospiza lincolnii

Melospiza georgiana

 

Pezopetes capitalis

         Torreornis inexpectata

Melozone kieneri

Melozone fusca

Melozone albicollis

Melozone aberti

Melozone crissalis

 

Melozone leucotis

 

Melozone biarcuata

 

Aimophila rufescens

Aimophila ruficeps

Aimophila notosticta

 

Pipilo chlorurus

 

Pipilo maculatus SS

Pipilo erythrophthalmus SS

Pipilo ocai SS

 

Atlapetes pileatus

Atlapetes albinucha

“Pselliophorus” tibialis

“Pselliophorus” luteoviridis

 

Atlapetes albofrenatus

Atlapetes personatus

Atlapetes melanocephalus

Atlapetes semirufus

         Atlapetes flaviceps

         Atlapetes fuscoolivaceus

Atlapetes leucopis

Atlapetes albiceps

         Atlapetes rufigenis

                     Atlapetes tricolor

                                             Atlapetes schistaceus

                                                         Atlapetes pallidinucha

                                                         Atlapetes latinuchus

                                                                     Atlapetes leucopterus

                                                                     Atlapetes pallidiceps

                                                                                 Atlapetes seebohmi

                                                                                 Atlapetes nationi

Atlapetes forbesi

                     Atlapetes melanopsis

                     Atlapetes terborghi

                     Atlapetes canigenis

Atlapetes melanolaemus*

Atlapetes rufinucha

                     Atlapetes fulviceps

                     Atlapetes citrinellus

 

 

Recommendation:  The current sequence does not reflect the most recent phylogenetic data and has to be changed.  I encourage inspection of the tree and the sequence to see whether tweaks are needed, especially in Atlapetes, which has severe problems with respect to placement of A. personatus and A. rufigenis if the sequence is to combine geography and phylogeny.

 

Van Remsen and John Klicka, May 2014

 

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Comments from Robbins: “YES, to the sequence change based on the new molecular data.”

 

Comments from Stiles: “YES, to bring the sequence into line with the phylogeny.  Do we need a separate proposal regarding splitting Passerellidae (New World) from the Old World Emberizidae sensu stricto?

 

Comment from Remsen in response to Stiles: Yes we definitely need that proposal.  I was hoping that NACC would take the lead on this, but if anyone here wants to go forward with one, do it.”

 

Comments from Nores: “? Although I agree that the current sequence does not reflect the most recent phylogenetic data and has to be changed, the new sequences (Arremon and Atlapetes), in my opinion, need tweaks.”

 

Comments from Jaramillo: “YES – This paper is a good one! Very well done. Apart from the various considerations we are dealing with here, I was quite surprised to see were Torreornis fell out. Lots of unexpected issues here. There may be some generic changes to come, I am not sure which species carries the name Ammodramus for example.”