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Phylogenetic Analysis of the Nest Architecture of Neotropical Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Krzysztof Zyskowski and Richard O. Prum
The Auk
Vol. 116, No. 4 (Oct., 1999), pp. 891-911
DOI: 10.2307/4089670
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4089670
Page Count: 21
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Phylogenetic Analysis of the Nest Architecture of Neotropical Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)
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Abstract

We reviewed the tremendous architectural diversity of ovenbird (Furnariidae) nests based on literature, museum collections, and new field observations. With few exceptions, furnariids exhibited low intraspecific variation for the nest characters hypothesized, with the majority of variation being hierarchically distributed among taxa. We hypothesized nest homologies for 168 species in 41 genera (ca. 70% of all species and genera) and coded them as 24 derived characters. Forty-eight most-parsimonious trees (41 steps, CI = 0.98, RC = 0.97) resulted from a parsimony analysis of the equally weighted characters using PAUP, with the Dendrocolaptidae and Formicarioidea as successive outgroups. The strict-consensus topology based on these trees contained 15 clades representing both traditional taxa and novel phylogenetic groupings. Comparisons with the outgroups demonstrate that cavity nesting is plesiomorphic to the furnariids. In the two lineages where the primitive cavity nest has been lost, novel nest structures have evolved to enclose the nest contents: the clay oven of Furnarius and the domed vegetative nest of the synallaxine clade. Although our phylogenetic hypothesis should be considered as a heuristic prediction to be tested subsequently by additional character evidence, this first cladistic analysis of the furnariids demonstrates the general utility of nest characters in reconstruction of avian relationships, and it provides a test of monophyly for several furnariid taxa.

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