Proposal (234) to South American Classification Committee
Transfer "Amazona" xanthops to the monotypic genus Salvatoria
Effect on South American Check-list: This proposal would add a monotypic genus (Salvatoria) to the official list, and exclude a species from the genus Amazona in order to make it monophyletic.
Duarte and Caparroz (1995) suggested that the Yellow-faced Parrot (Amazona xanthops Spix 1824), a species endemic to eastern and central Brazil, exhibited substantial karyotypic differences not only compared to other species in the genus Amazona, but also to all other New World parrots examined. Duarte and Caparroz (1995) used these differences to suggest that A. xanthops should be excluded from the genus Amazona and placed in the monotypic genus Salvatoria, as first proposed by Ribeiro (1920) based on bill and plumage characteristics.
Although A. xanthops did not form a monophyletic group together with three other Amazona species based on a phylogenetic analysis of 307 bp of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) region (Birt et al., 1992), a clear understanding of the relationships between A. xanthops and other New World parrots was lacking at that time, and the species was maintained in Amazona.
Hypotheses regarding the evolutionary history of Amazona were investigated by Russello and Amato (2004) using a combined phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data from six partitions including mitochondrial (COI, 12S, and 16S) and nuclear (b-fibint7, RP40, and TROP) regions. Their results demonstrate that Amazona is not monophyletic owing to the placement of A. xanthops, which forms a well-supported clade with Graydidascalus.
The sister relationship between A. xanthops and Graydidascalus was also recovered with strong support in a genus-level molecular phylogeny of Neotropical parrots based on analyses of 6388 base pairs of nuclear (RAG-1) and mitochondrial (cyt b, NADH2, ATPase 6, ATPase 8, COIII, 12S rDNA, and 16S rDNA) sequence data (Tavares et al. 2006).
Clearly, the Yellow-faced parrot does not belong in Amazona. Because the type species of Amazona is A. farinosa, "Amazona" xanthops needs to be placed in another genus.
Place "Amazona" xanthops as the only member of the genus Salvatoria, following Ribeiro (1920). Recent phylogenetic evidence strongly validates his morphological observations and is consistent with karyotypic data.
Birt, T.P., Friesen, V.L., Green, J.M., Montevecchi, W.A., and Davidson, W.S. (1992). Cytochrome-b sequence variation among parrots. Hereditas 117:62-72.
Duarte, J.M.B., and Caparroz, R. (1995). Cytotaxonomic analysis of Brazilian species of the genus Amazona (Psittacidae, Aves) and confirmation of the genus Salvatoria (Ribeiro, 1920). Braz. J. Genet. 18:623-628.
Ribeiro, A.M. (1920). Revisão dos psittacídeos brasileiros. Revista do Museu Paulista 12:1-82.
Russello, M.A., and Amato, G., (2004). A molecular phylogeny of Amazona: Implications for Neotropical parrot biogeography, taxonomy, and conservation. Mol. Phylog. Evol. 30:421-437.
Tavares, E.S., Baker, A.J. Pereira, S.L., and Miyaki, C.Y. Phylogenetic Relationships and Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Parrots (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae: Arini) Inferred from Mitochondrial and Nuclear DNA Sequences. Syst. Biol. 55, (3): 454-470.
Erika Sendra Tavares (with minor edits by C. D. Cadena), August 2006
Addendum: A recent paper (Caparroz and Pacheco 2006) indicates that the name Salvatoria is preoccupied by another taxon (an annelid), and proposed Alipiopsitta as a new name for Salvatoria Miranda-Riberio. We will need to vote on this at some point, so for now a YES vote will indicate only agreeing to remove A. xanthops from Amazona. If this passes, a second proposal will follow regarding the Salvatoria vs. Alipiopsitta issue.
Comments from Remsen: "YES. All data suggest that inclusion of xanthops in Amazona was a mistake and that its removal is required to maintain monophyletic Amazona. Whether Salvatoria and Graydidasculus could/should be merged is a separate issue. For now, maintain as a monotypic genus."
Comments from Stiles: "YES. The removal of xanthops to either a monotypic genus or Graydidasculus is clearly required. At present, the first alternative seems better pending more information on the closeness of the xanthops-Graydidasculus connection. The generic name Alipiopsitta also is appropriate as Salvatoria is preoccupied. Incidentally, a quick Google search immediately produced the annelid genus Salvatoria, hence it should be easier to avoid this sort of error in the future!"
Comments from Pacheco: "YES. Um convicto sim! Todos esses estudos e mais Caparroz and Duarte (2004. Gen. Mol. Biol. 27: 522-528) demonstram claramente que este táxon não deve ser subordinado aos tradicionais Amazona."
Comments from Zimmer: "YES. Vocal and morphological characters align with molecular evidence in showing that xanthops does not belong in Amazona. Until we have greater resolution on how close xanthops is to Graydidascalus, I think it is best to retain it in a monotypic genus."
Comments from Schulenberg: "NO. I'm voting to maintain a monophyletic Amazona; the idea of a monotypic genus does not appeal to me."
Comments from Jaramillo: "YES. Data supports move of xanthops out of Amazona. From there it becomes a bit more murky, monotypic genus or not? I guess that is a separate proposal, for now accept transfer to Alipiopsitta (Salvatoria being preoccupied)."
Comments from Stotz: "YES; personally I would be inclined to place xanthops in Graydidascalus to avoid another monotypic genus."