New Zealand wren
About: New Zealand wren is a research topic. Over the lifetime, 6 publications have been published within this topic receiving 593 citations. The topic is also known as: New Zealand wren & Xenicidae.
TL;DR: The hypothesis of relationships presented here suggests that the oscine passerines arose on the Australian continental plate while it was isolated by oceanic barriers and that a major northern radiation of oscines originated subsequent to dispersal from the south.
Abstract: Passerine birds comprise over half of avian diversity, but have proved difficult to classify. Despite a long history of work on this group, no comprehensive hypothesis of passerine family–level relationships was available until recent analyses of DNA–DNA hybridization data. Unfortunately, given the value of such a hypothesis in comparative studies of passerine ecology and behaviour, the DNA–hybridization results have not been well tested using independent data and analytical approaches. Therefore, we analysed nucleotide sequence variation at the nuclear RAG–1 and c– mos genes from 69 passerine taxa, including representatives of most currently recognized families. In contradiction to previous DNA–hybridization studies, our analyses suggest paraphyly of suboscine passerines because the suboscine New Zealand wren Acanthisitta was found to be sister to all other passerines. Additionally, we reconstructed the parvorder Corvida as a basal paraphyletic grade within the oscine passerines. Finally, we found strong evidence that several family–level taxa are misplaced in the hybridization results, including the Alaudidae, Irenidae, and Melanocharitidae. The hypothesis of relationships we present here suggests that the oscine passerines arose on the Australian continental plate while it was isolated by oceanic barriers and that a major northern radiation of oscines (i.e. the parvorder Passerida) originated subsequent to dispersal from the south.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors report four new avian mitochondrial genomes, which together with an improved method of phylogenetic analysis for vertebrate mt genomes give results for three questions in avian evolution.
Abstract: Good phylogenetic trees are required to test hypotheses about evolutionary processes. We report four new avian mitochondrial genomes, which together with an improved method of phylogenetic analysis for vertebrate mt genomes give results for three questions in avian evolution. The new mt genomes are: magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata), an owl (morepork, Ninox novaeseelandiae); a basal passerine (rifleman, or New Zealand wren, Acanthisitta chloris); and a parrot (kakapo or owl-parrot, Strigops habroptilus). The magpie goose provides an important new calibration point for avian evolution because the well-studied Presbyornis fossils are on the lineage to ducks and geese, after the separation of the magpie goose. We find, as with other animal mitochondrial genomes, that RY-coding is helpful in adjusting for biases between pyrimidines and between purines. When RY-coding is used at third positions of the codon, the root occurs between paleognath and neognath birds (as expected from morphological and nuclear data). In addition, passerines form a relatively old group in Neoaves, and many modern avian lineages diverged during the Cretaceous. Although many aspects of the avian tree are stable, additional taxon sampling is required.
TL;DR: This is the first study of an alpine vertebrate to test and provide strong evidence for the glacial refugia hypothesis as an explanation for the low endemicity central zone known as the biotic ‘gap’ in the South Island of New Zealand.
Abstract: Naturally subdivided populations such as those occupying high-altitude habitat patches of the 'alpine archipelago' can provide significant insight into past biogeographical change and serve as useful models for predicting future responses to anthropogenic climate change. Among New Zealand's alpine taxa, phylogenetic studies support two major radiations: the first correlating with geological forces (Pliocene uplift) and the second with climatic processes (Pleistocene glaciations). The rock wren (Xenicus gilviventris) is a threatened alpine passerine belonging to the endemic New Zealand wren family (Acanthisittidae). Rock wren constitute a widespread, naturally fragmented population, occurring in patches of suitable habitat over c. 900 m in altitude throughout the length of the South Island, New Zealand. We investigated the relative role of historical geological versus climatic processes in shaping the genetic structure of rock wren (N = 134) throughout their range. Using microsatellites combined with nuclear and mtDNA sequence data, we identify a deep north-south divergence in rock wren (3.7 ± 0.5% at cytochrome b) consistent with the glacial refugia hypothesis whereby populations were restricted in isolated refugia during the Pleistocene c. 2 Ma. This is the first study of an alpine vertebrate to test and provide strong evidence for the glacial refugia hypothesis as an explanation for the low endemicity central zone known as the biotic 'gap' in the South Island of New Zealand.
TL;DR: The post-cranial skeleton of Dendroscansor exhibits characteristics allying it more closely with Pachyplichas and Traversia than with Xenicus and the diminutive Acanthisitta, suggesting that the species was largely arboreal.
Abstract: Dendroscansor decurvirostris, a new and particularly distinctive New Zealand wren (Aves: Acanthisittidae), is described from subfossil remains found in Late Pleistocene - Holocene cave sediments in the north-western South Island, New Zealand. Dendroscansor, uniquely among acanthisittids, has an extraordinarily elongate, downcurved bill. This feature, and others such as its enlarged anterior cervical vertebrae and relatively short, yet not particularly robust legs, suggest that the species was largely arboreal, probing in crevices in tree bark (and perhaps also in fallen logs) in the manner of the various creepers (e.g. Dendrocolaptidae, Furnariidae, Certhiidae, Climacteridae). In general, the post-cranial skeleton of Dendroscansor exhibits characteristics allying it more closely with Pachyplichas and Traversia than with Xenicus and the diminutive Acanthisitta. Its much reduced wing skeleton and almost acarinate sternum provide compelling evidence that, like Pachyplichas and Traversia, it was inca...
TL;DR: A new genus of New Zealand wren described from subfossil remains found in Late Pleistocene-Holocene cave sediments and Holocene dune sands, which exhibits several unique osteological features, including a highly modified pelvis and extraordinarily sturdy hind limbs, indicate that, like most other Acanthisittids, Pachyplichas was largely terrestrial in habit.
Abstract: Pachyplichas, a new genus of New Zealand wren (Aves: Acanthisittidae) is described from subfossil remains found in Late Pleistocene-Holocene cave sediments and Holocene dune sands. Two species, readily differentiated on the basis of size, are assigned to the new genus. P. jagmi sp. nov. is known only from the North Island, and the larger P. yaldwyni sp. nov. only from the South Island. Pachyplichas, which appears to be more closely related to Xenicus than to the diminutive Acanthisitta or the aberrant Traversia, exhibits several unique osteological features, including a highly modified pelvis and extraordinarily sturdy hind limbs. These features, allied with its relatively reduced wing skeleton, indicate that, like most other Acanthisittids, Pachyplichas was largely terrestrial in habit.