Molecular phylogenetic analysis of an endangered Mexican sparrow: Spizella wortheni
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
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The Worthen’s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni) is an endemic bird species of the Mexican Plateau that is protected by Mexican law. Considering its limited range (25 km2), small population size (100–120 individuals), and declining population, it is one of the most endangered avian species in North America. Although it has been assumed to be the sister taxon of the Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla), the systematic and evolutionary relationships of Worthen’s Sparrow have never been tested using modern molecular phylogenetic methods. We addressed the molecular phylogeny of S. wortheni analyzing six mitochondrial genes (3571 bp) from all of the natural members of the genus Spizella. Our maximum likelihood and Bayeasian analysis indicate that despite the superficial similarity, S. wortheni is not the sister taxon of S. pusilla, but is instead most closely related to the Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri). Also new insights about the phylogenetics relationships of the Spizella genera are presented.
Bird populations; Endangered species; Phylogeny; Spizella; Worthen’s Sparrow
Ornithology | Population Biology
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Gonzalez-Rojas, J. I.
Molecular phylogenetic analysis of an endangered Mexican sparrow: Spizella wortheni.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 57(3),
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