Proposal (557) to South American Classification Committee


Recognize the genus Euchrepomis for four "Terenura"



Effect on SACC: This would transfer four species from their current placement in Terenura to Euchrepomis, the genus newly described for them.


Background: SACC currently classifies six species in the genus Terenura. Cabanis and Heine (1859–1860) named the genus Terenura for the species Myiothera maculata (Wied, 1831) of southeastern Brazil, which had been placed in Formicivora by Sclater (1858).  The species Formicivora callinota (Sclater, 1855) was subsequently included in Terenura by Taczanowski and von Berlepsch (1885) without comment, but perhaps because Sclater noted in his original description of callinota that ‘‘it [callinota] must be placed next to the Brazilian Formicivora maculata . . . with which it agrees in form and style of plumage.’’ This rationale apparently led to the association of callinota with maculata. Subsequent classifications continued to place both in Terenura, along with four additional species described later, all noted as close relatives of callinota and all described in Terenura: T. humeralis (Sclater and Salvin, 1880), T. spodioptila (Sclater and Salvin, 1881), T. sharpei (von Berlepsch, 1901), and T. sicki (Teixeira and Gonzaga, 1983). At least two phenotypic groups have been recognized within the genus based on plumage differences: the ‘‘streaked-headed’’ group consisting of T. maculata and T. sicki, and the ‘‘standard’’ Terenura consisting of the remaining four species (Ridgely and Tudor, 1994).

         Terenura sharpei and T. humeralis were shown to be the sister group to all other Thamnophilidae (Bravo et al., 2012; Brumfield and Edwards, 2007; Irestedt et al., 2004; Moyle et al., 2009), but lack of samples of the type species of the genus, T. maculata, impeded certainty about the monophyly of Terenura and its phylogenetic placement.


New information: Results from a subset of taxa from a densely sampled molecular phylogeny of the Thamnophilidae (including 214 of 220 species) confirmed that Terenura is not monophyletic (Bravo et al. 2012). Terenura callinota, T. sharpei, T. humeralis, and T. spodionota are not related to the type species of the genus, T. maculata, and form a clade that is sister to all other members of the family.  Terenura maculata is related to the genus Myrmotherula. Because no other generic name is available  for callinota, sharpei, humeralis, and spodionota, Bravo et al. (2012) erected the name Euchrepomis for these four species in recognition of their bright yellow or bright orange-rufous coloration of the lesser secondary coverts of males. They showed that Euchrepomis is genetically, morphometrically, and vocally diagnosable from all other similar antwrens.


Recommendation: We recommend a “YES” vote to recognize the recently described genus Euchrepomis for “Terenuracallinota, sharpei, humeralis, and spodionota.



Bravo, G. A., J. V. Remsen, Jr., B. M. Whitney, and R. T. Brumfield. 2012. DNA sequence data reveal a subfamily-level divergence within Thamnophilidae (Aves: Passeriformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65:287–293.

Cabanis, J., Heine, F. 1859–1860. Verzeichniss der ornithologischen Sammlung des Oberamtmann Ferdinand Heine auf Gut St. Burchard vor Halberstadt. Mit kritischen Anmerkungen und Beschreinbung der neuen Arten systematisch bearbeitet. Museum Heineanum 2, pp. 1–175.

Sclater, P.L. 1855. Descriptions of some new species of ant-thrushes (Formicariinae) from Santa Fé di Bogota. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 23, 88–90.

Sclater, P.L. 1858. Synopsis of the American ant-birds (Formicariidae). Part II., Containing the Formicivorinae or antwrens. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 26, 232–271.

Sclater, P.L., Salvin, O. 1880. On new birds collected by Mr. C. Buckley in eastern Ecuador. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 48, 155–161.

Sclater, P.L., Salvin, O. 1881. Descriptions of some new species of South-American birds of the families Tyrannidae and Formicariidae. Ibis 23, 267–271.

Taczanowski, L., von Berlepsch, C.H. 1885. Troisième liste des oiseaux recueillis par M. Stolzmann dans l’Ecuadeur. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 53, 67–124.

Teixeira, D.M., Gonzaga, L.P., 1983. A new antwren from northeastern Brazil. Bull. Br. Ornithol. Club 103, 133–135.

von Berlepsch, C.H. 1901. Mitteilungen über die von den Gebrüdern G. und O. Garlepp in Bolivia gesammelten Vögel und Beschreibungen neuer Arten. J. Ornithol. 49, 81–99.

Wied, M.P. 1831. Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte von Brasilien (vol. 3). Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte von Brasilien. Weimar, pp. 637–1227.

[Other references in SACC Literature]

Gustavo A. Bravo and Van Remsen, October 2012



Comments from Zimmer: “YES.  It never did make much sense to me that maculata and sicki were in the same genus with the other four species, which, by themselves, form a very cohesive group (morphologically, vocally and ecologically).  The two Atlantic Forest species (maculata and sicki) differ from the other four in many respects.  The recent molecular data confirm what vocal, morphological, and ecological characters already strongly suggested.  Given that maculata is the type of the genus Terenura, we are left with no recourse but to recognize a new genus for what most of us probably think of as the ‘four typical Terenuras’!”


Comments from Stiles: “YES; given that Terenura is polyphyletic and must be split and that no valid generic name is available, a new name is required.”


Comments from Pacheco: “YES.  A convincing proposal. Living in the area of the Atlantic Forest, my surprise was the inverse of Kevin, when years later I met the Amazonian "Terenura".


Comments from Nores: “YES.  It is evident in the tree of Bravo et al. (2012) that Terenura callinota, T. humeralis, T. spodioptila, and T. sharpei are not closely related to T. maculata.  Moreover, the bright yellow or bright orange-rufous coloration, the bend of wing and hidden patch under scapulars of males are also important characteristics.”


Comments from Robbins: “YES. - a very straightforward proposal based on Bravo et al.’s (2012) data.”


Comments from Pérez-Emán: “YES. Information provided by Bravo et al. (2012) strongly supports this split and the use of a new name for this group of birds. By the way, Bravo et al. (2012) also proposed a new subfamily, Euchrepomidinae. As we have been discussing several subfamily proposals, I just wanted to point out that description on this subfamily by authors is a good integration of all available data (nuclear and mitochondrial DNA characters, plumage, anatomy, morphometrics, vocalizations and behavior). We need to wait for the complete Thamnophilidae phylogeny to be published to evaluate the merit of this proposal. However, I think that strong proposals should be based on a thorough evaluation of all available information for a particular study taxon, as it has been done here.”