Section 6
Chapter 5,515

Genetic evidence for relationships among the red eyed vireo olivaceus yellow green vireo flavoviridis and chivi vireos vireo chivi

Johnson, N.K.; Zink, R.M.

Wilson Bulletin 97(4): 421-435


Accession: 005514591

Using starch gel electrophoresis, we assessed genetic distances among samples of the Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus), the Yellow-green Vireo (V. flavoviridis), and the Chivi Vireo (V. chivi). Tissues from a Rufous-browed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis gujanensis ochrocephala) provided an outgroup comparison. The three complexes of Vireo have been treated in the past either as a single species or as three separate species. Thirty-eight genetic loci were scored. The Red-eyed and Chivi vireos are very similar genetically (Nei's D = 0.014). In constrast, these two forms differ strikingly from the Yellow-green Vireo (Nei's D = 0.177 and 0.176, respectively). Several branching methods (UPGMA, WPGMA, Wagner Tree and F-M Tree) gave congruent results on relationships. These data support the position that the Red-eyed and Chivi vireos are conspecific. The Yellow-green Vireo, however, clearly deserves full species status. The genic data suggest that the clade leading to Vireo olivaceus-flavoviridis-chivi split from Cyclarhis at approximately 13 MYBP. Ensuing separation of V. flavoviridis from V. olivaceus-chivi occurred at about 4.6 MYBP. The division of North American V. olivaceus from its South American relatives in the chivi complex occurred approximately 370,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene. We speculate that chivi arose from wintering individuals of V. olivaceus that failed to return to North America.

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