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Molecular phylogeny and morphological change in the Psittacula parakeets

Groombridge, Jim J., Jones, Carl G., Nichols, Richard A., Carlton, Mark, Bruford, Michael W. (2004) Molecular phylogeny and morphological change in the Psittacula parakeets. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 31 (1). pp. 96-108. ISSN 1055-7903. (doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.008) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:6781)

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We reconstruct a phylogeny of the African and Asian Psittacula parakeets using approximately 800 bp of mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence to examine their evolutionary relationships in reference to their head plumage and major morphological tail innovations. Our phylogeny identifies three groups, whose distinctiveness is also apparent from their possession of three different head plumage characters: a neck ring, a distinctive colouration of the head, and a 'moustache'-shaped pattern that extends from the chin to the cheek. We examine the extent of sexual dimorphism in tail length across the phylogeny and reveal large differences between closely related forms. We apply a range of published avian cytochrome b substitution rates to our data, as an alternative to internal calibration of a molecular clock arising from incomplete paleontological information. An ancestral Psittacula form appears to have evolved during the late Miocene-early Pliocene (3.4-9.7 MYA), a time when regional geological processes on the Asian continent may have promoted subsequent diversity at the species level, and many forms diverged relatively early on in the evolutionary history of Psittacula (between 2.5 and 7.7 MYA). However, others, such as the derbyan and moustached parakeets, diverged as recently as 0.2 MYA. Our phylogeny also suggests that the echo parakeet from Mauritius diverged from the Indian ringneck parakeet as opposed to the African ringneck, and may have done so relatively recently. The molecular results indicate support for a southwards radiation from India across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius, where the arrival-date of the echo parakeet appears consistent with the island's volcanic formation. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.008
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (
Zoological Society of London (
Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (
Depositing User: Jim Groombridge
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2008 21:42 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 10:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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