Proposal (655) to South American Classification Committee
Transfer Hylophilus sclateri to Vireo (A) and change English name to Tepui Vireo (B)
Effect on SACC: This proposal would (A) transfer Hylophilus sclateri Salvin and Godman 1883 to the genus Vireo and (B) change the English name to Tepui Vireo.
SACC Vireonidae footnotes 7a and 12a read as follows:
7a. Genetic data (Murray et al. 1994) support the traditional "eye-lined" species group (here including V. leucophrys, V. philadelphicus, V. olivaceus, V. gracilirostris, V. flavoviridis, and V. altiloquus) as a monophyletic unit within the genus Vireo; these species were formerly (e.g., Ridgway 1904) placed in a separate genus, Vireosylva. Slager et al. (2014) confirmed that they formed a monophyletic group, but only if Hylophilus sclateri is included (see Note 12a). SACC proposal badly needed.
12a. Slager et al. (2014) found that Hylophilus sclateri was not a member of any of the three lineages currently included in Hylophilus (see Note 11) and that it was a member of the Vireosylva group (see Note 7a). SACC proposal badly needed.
Slager et al. (2014) produced a phylogeny of Vireonidae using mitochondrial (ND2) and nuclear (3 Z-linked loci) data that included 221 samples representing 46/52 currently recognized vireonid species. Their analysis included ND2 sequences from 2 vouchered individuals of Hylophilus sclateri and multilocus nuclear data for 1 of these individuals. The trees (Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure S1) of Slager et al. (2014) place Hylophilus sclateri embedded within Vireo, sister to the Vireo gilvus complex (= V. gilvus + V. philadelphicus + V. leucophrys) and phylogenetically distant from other Hylophilus.
The genetic data clearly support subsuming Hylophilus sclateri within Vireo Vieillot 1808, which has taxonomic priority. "Tepui Vireo" seems a logical new English name for the taxon, and retention of Greenlet only perpetuates confusion, even though Greenlet itself is polyphyletic.
The placement of H. sclateri within the eye-lined vireo clade was unexpected given plumage similarities between H. sclateri and some of the "scrub" greenlets (sensu Slager et al. 2014). However, plumage does not reliably reflect phylogeny in the Vireonidae, and in fact the scold call of H. sclateri (e.g. XC66373, ML134419) strongly recalls that of "eye-lined" vireos such as V. gilvus, V. philadelphicus, and V. olivaceus. Little natural history data is published for H. sclateri.
Recommendation: A YES vote on both A and B is recommended.
Slager, D.L., Battey, C.J., Bryson, R.W. Jr., Voelker, G., & Klicka J. 2014. A multilocus phylogeny of a major New World avian radiation: The Vireonidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 80, 95-104.
Dave Slager, November 2014
Comments from Stiles: “YES to A and B. The genetic evidence shows clearly that sclateri is a vireo, not a greenlet, and the English name seems appropriate.”
Comments from Stotz: “YES to A and B. Genetic data clear. I can’t see anything is gained by retaining greenlet for this species.”
Comments from Zimmer: “YES to A and B. Genetic data are clear, and retention of the English group name “Greenlet” would be confusing and inappropriate. “Tepui Greenlet” is a logical choice of English name for sclateri.”
Comments from Areta: “YES to A and B. A) Phylogenetic and vocal data strongly support changing Hylophilus sclateri to Vireo sclateri. B) Although I have no say, Tepui Vireo is the most reasonable choice.”