Proposal (227) to South American Classification Committee


Merge Catoptrophorus and Heteroscelus into Tringa


Pereira and Baker (2005) used both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences to study relationships in the "shanks," the shorebird Tribe Tringini. At present, the tribe consists of 5 genera: Tringa, Catoptrophorus, Heteroscelus, Actitis, and Xenus. Pereira and Baker showed that the species in Catoptrophorus and Heteroscelus are embedded within Tringa and should be merged into it, and that Xenus and Actitis are at the base of the tree.


They also presented a phylogeny, which, if we follow, necessitates a rearrangement of the species in our list. [Unfortunately, they made mistakes in the nomenclature when they merged the genera, putting some of the new name combinations in parentheses rather than the names of the authors. They corrected the gender of one name, but not another-in the sentence after they cited the Code.]


I propose accepting the results of this study. The classification of the tribe Tringini would be:


Xenus cinereus
A. macularia
T. solitaria
T. incana
T. melanoleuca
T. semipalmata
T. flavipes


Literature Cited


Pereira, S. L., and A. J. Baker. 2005. Multiple gene evidence for parallel evolution and retention of ancestral morphological states in the shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae). Condor 107:514-526.


Richard C. Banks, August 2006


Note: This proposal was solicited by Remsen from Banks and is a slight modification of the one submitted by Banks to AOU/NACC. It was accepted by NACC - see Banks et al. (2006).





Comments from Stiles: "YES. If the phylogenetic data withstand scrutiny (and they look solid to me), the only alternative that would permit maintaining of Catoptrophorus and Heteroscelus as separate genera would be to split "classic" Tringa into at least three smaller genera, which I find unattractive and uninformative."


Comments from Robbins: "YES. Genetic data demonstrate that both Catoptrophorus & Heteroscelus should be subsumed into Tringa."


Comments from Zimmer: "YES. Evidence seems clear, and agrees with morphological, ecological and vocal characters."


Comments from Jaramillo: "YES. Data look good. I guess pending acceptance, a proposal should be done to re-order species in Tringa to better reflect hypothesized relationships."


Comments from Remsen: “YES.  The only real surprise is that T. flavipes and T. melanoleuca are not sister species, in direct conflict with all phenotypic signal.  Yet the genetic data are strong, and we already know that there are strange convergent plumage patterns in scolopacids (e.g., white lower back mark in many Old World taxa).”