Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PHYLOGENETIC RELATIONSHIPS OF THE EXTINCT CAROLINA PARAKEET

PHYLOGENETIC RELATIONSHIPS OF THE EXTINCT CAROLINA PARAKEET (CONUROPSIS CAROLINENSIS) INFERRED FROM ANCIENT-DNA SEQUENCES

Kirchman, J. J., New York State Museum, Albany, USA,
Schirtzinger, E. E., New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA,
Wright, T. F., New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA,

ABSTRACT: We obtained the first DNA sequences from the extinct Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) and used these data to infer the phylogenetic relationships of this iconic North American parrot. We compared our sequences of the mitochondrial CO1 gene obtained from two C. carolinensis museum specimens to homologous sequences from individuals representing 44 species in 25 genera of Neotropical parrots (Tribe Arini), and four outgroups from Old World tribes of Psittacines. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses place C. conuropsis on a long branch, sister to a wellsupported clade of Aratinga parakeets that includes the most northern extant species of Neotropical parrots and species endemic to Cuba, Hispaniola, and Socorro Island. Our data do not support a close relationship with the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsistta monachus) with which C. conuropsis shares fully feathered ceres, a putative adaptation for cold tolerance. Based on the high level of sequence divergence from all sampled species (uncorrected P > 5.6%), we recommend continued recognition of the monotypic genus Conuropsis. Taxonomic revision of the highly polyphyletic genus Aratinga is needed.


2010 Joint Meeting of the AOU/Cooper Ornithological Society/Society of Canadian Ornithologists