Although Tropicoperdix has been considered to be either a full genus or a species complex within the Phasianid genus Arborophila (hill partridges), there is long-standing uncertainty regarding the degree of difference that warrants generic separation, including reported anatomical cranial differences. In addition, the intra-generic taxonomy remains under dispute. Most studies hypothesize that Tropicoperdix comprises three species, while others postulate from one to four species. However, no molecular study has been performed to clarify the systematic and taxonomic uncertainties surrounding Tropicoperdix. In the present study, we performed a series of molecular phylogenetic analyses of Tropicoperdix and Arborophila taxa based on two mitochondrial genes and five nuclear introns. All the results are consistent with the finding that Tropicoperdix and Arborophila are phylogenetically distinct and distant genera, although the precise phylogenetic position of Tropicoperdix remains undetermined. Retrospective examination of external characteristics also supports the generic separation, as well as providing evidence of remarkable multiple character convergence. We propose that Tropicoperdix comprises at least two full species based on mitochondrial data obtained from museum specimens by using a next-generation sequencing method.
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