Proposal (165) to South American Classification Committee
Move Cichlopsis in linear sequence of Turdidae
Effect on South American Check-list: This proposal changes slightly the linear sequence of the genera in Turdidae by moving Cichlopsis next to Entomodestes.
Background: Hellmayr (1934) treated this species, the Rufous-brown Solitaire, in the monotypic genus Cichlopsis. Ripley (1964) and Meyer de Schauensee (1966, 1970) merged Cichlopsis into Myadestes, without providing any explicit rationale. Ridgely & Tudor (1989) provided qualitative arguments for the resurrection of Cichlopsis, and this has been followed by most recent authors (e.g., Sibley & Monroe 1990). To reflect its supposed close relationship to Myadestes, its position in all recent linear sequences has been next to Myadestes, including, therefore, ours.
Klicka et al. (2005) used mtDNA sequence data (cyt b and ND2) to produce a phylogenetic hypothesis for relationships among the genera of "true" thrushes. Their results are consistent with our classification except for two things: (1) Platycichla is very likely embedded within Turdus (no surprise), and (2) Cichlopsis is no more closely related to Myadestes than is any other New World thrush other than North American Sialia bluebirds, and the sister genus of Cichlopsis is Entomodestes. Support for their sister relationship is strong (100% bootstrap in maximum parsimony and >95% Bayesian posterior probability).
Analysis: The genetic data are solid. Biogeographically, this makes sense as well. I am unaware of any actual data that would conflict with a sister relationship between the two genera. Klicka et al. (2005) even proposed that the two genera be merged (and that can be the subject of a follow-up proposal).
Recommendation: A minor change in linear sequence will make our classification consistent with the latest genetic data, so I strongly recommend a YES on this one.
HELLMAYR, C. E. 1934. Catalogue of birds of the Americas. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Publ., Zool. Ser., vol. 13., pt. 7.
KLICKA, J., G. VOELKER, AND G. M. SPELLMAN. 2005. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the "true thrushes" (Aves: Turdinae). Molecular Phylogenetics Evolution 34: 486-500.
RIDGELY, R. S., AND G. TUDOR. 1989. Birds of South America, Volume I: the oscine passerines. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
RIPLEY, S. D. 1964. Subfamily Turdinae. Pp. 13-227 in "Check-list of birds of the World, Vol. 10" (Mayr, E., and R. A. Paynter, Jr., eds.). Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
SIBLEY, C. G., AND B. L. MONROE, JR. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
Van Remsen, February 2005 (in consultation with John Klicka)
Comments from Zimmer: "YES. The molecular data are compelling, and are consistent with vocal, behavioral and ecological characters, all of which point to a closer relationship of Cichlopsis to Entomodestes."
Comments from Robbins: "YES. Klicka et al. provide convincing genetic data for such an arrangement. However, I'm less convinced that Cichlopsis should be synonymized under Entomodestes."
Comments from Nores: "SI. Pienso que el análisis molecular de Klicka et al. es una buena evidencia que Cichlopsis no está relacionado con Myadestes y si con Entomodestes. También coincido con Robbins en que no parece factible que Cichlopsis pueda incluirse en Entomodestes, por más que estén tan cerca en el árbol."
Comments from Stiles: "YES. The genetic evidence seems solid - and based on morphology, I would be reluctant to lump Entomodestes and Cichlopsis - they're quite different in proportions as well as coloration."
Comments from Pacheco: "YES, Os resultados de Klicka et al. são apropriados para abonar esta mudança na sequência: Cichlopsis perto de Entomodestes."
Comments from Jaramillo: "YES - this one is quite straight forward."