Molecular systematics and plumage coloration evolution of an enigmatic babbler (Pomatorhinus ruficollis) in East Asia

Feng Dong, Shou Hsien Li, Fa Sheng Zou, Fu Min Lei, Wei Liang, Jun Xing Yang*, Xiao Jun Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The streak-breasted scimitar babbler, Pomatorhinus ruficollis, is a polytypic and taxonomically enigmatic babbler common in southern, eastern, and southeastern Asia. To infer the phylogeny of the P. ruficollis, we examined the sequences of two complete mitochondrial genes (2184. bp in total) from fourteen of the fifteen known subspecies, and an additional five nuclear genes (2657. bp in total) from ten subspecies. The mitochondrial phylogeny indicates four major clades with large geographical identity in P. ruficollis and paraphyly of the P. ruficollis species complex, with the inclusion of the olivaceus group of congeneric P. schisticeps. Together with their interbreeding in northern Indochina, we propose to lump this group into P. ruficollis. Analysis of both multilocus networks and species-tree inference recovered poor phylogenetic structure among mainland/ Hainan subspecies and exclusive groupings of the Taiwanese subspecies, consistent with the recent taxonomic revision of its species status. Our analyses also suggest strong incongruence between the morphological-based classification and molecular systematics, implying the strength of multilocus data for taxonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan


  • Mitochondrial genes
  • Nuclear genes
  • Taxonomic revision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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