Proposal (706) to South American Classification Committee


Change the linear sequence of genera in the family Odontophoridae


Note: This proposal was submitted to and passed unanimously by NACC.


Background:  The current linear sequence of the family Odontophoridae has remained unchanged from the seventh edition of the checklist (AOU 1998). The sequence of genera is as follows:












No source was provided for this linear sequence. Johnsgard (1988) is sometimes cited for relationships among New World quail but his phyletic hypothesis is not entirely congruent with this sequence.


New Information:  Hosner et al. (2015 – see tree below) recently published a molecular phylogeny, based on sequences of three mitochondrial genes and eight nuclear introns, of the Odontophoridae. Their study included all genera and most species (23/33) in this family; most of the missing species were from the genus Odontophorus. Their concatenated tree confirmed that the Old World genus Ptilopachus was sister to a clade containing all New World species.  Within the New World clade, Rhynchortyx cinctus was sister to all other species, which were divided into two clades, one consisting of Oreortyx, Dendrortyx, Philortyx, Colinus, and Callipepla, and the other of Cyrtonyx, Dactylortyx, and the large genus Odontophorus.  Support for most nodes in the tree was excellent (100% bootstrap, 1.0 posterior probability), although a few nodes, half of them within Odontophorus, were less well supported.



Recommendation: Hosner et al. (2015) presented by far the best phylogenetic information on relationships within the Odontophoridae.  Although their sampling (and discrepancies within Odontophorus depending on the type of data analysis) precludes making conclusions about species relationships within genera, their data on relationships of genera are well supported.  I recommend that we modify the linear sequence of genera for this family to conform to our sequencing protocols (species listed from the deepest node in the tree, beginning with the branch with the least number of species).  This would result in the following linear sequence:



Oreortyx (extralimital to SACC)

Dendrortyx (extralimital to SACC)

Philortyx (extralimital to SACC)


Callipepla (extralimital to SACC)

Cyrtonyx (extralimital to SACC)

Dactylortyx (extralimital to SACC)




Hosner, P. A., E. L. Braun, and R. T. Kimball. 2015. Land connectivity changes and global cooling shaped the colonization history and diversification of New World quail (Aves: Galliformes: Odontophoridae). J. Biogeogr. 42: 1883-1895.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1988. The quails, partridges, and francolins of the world. Oxford University Press, New York.


Terry Chesser, February 2015


Note: “The Rhynchortyx cinctus = subspecies R. c. australis.  It was collected in ECUADOR: prov. Esmeraldas, ca 30 km SE San Lorenzo.  The official LSUMZ voucher catalog number is 162078.


For the Odontophorus gujanensis, the subspecies is not listed in our database but the specimen was collected in BOLIVIA: depto. Santa Cruz; prov. Velasco, 10 km SSW Piso Firme.  So, by geography it would be O. g. simonsi.  The official LSUMZ voucher number = 150518.


Sincerely, Steve Cardiff




Comments from Stiles: “YES. The Hosner et al. phylogeny makes this the best option for a generic sequence.”


Comments from Areta: “YES. The type species of Odontophorus (gujanensis), Colinus (virginianus), and Rhynchortyx (cinctus) have been sampled. However, I could not track down relevant voucher specimen data. If nominate subspecies have not been sampled, the validity of this change will rest in the stability of species limits and intra and intergeneric relationships. It would be nice to see more detailed data of vouchers included in this type of studies, to facilitate work on taxonomic matters.”


Comments from Pacheco: “YES. The most recent and well-founded arrangement for the family.”


Comments from Jaramillo: “YES. This is the best dataset available on the relationships of the Odontophoridae. I do not see anything controversial or worth commenting on other than perhaps Odontophorus could be divided up into two genera?”