09/12/2010
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New genus: Ovenbirds Asthenes spp

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Swarovski Optik
Swarovski Optik

The South American genus Asthenes contains 22 species of small ovenbird or canastero, which are notoriously diverse in their behaviour, ecology and nest architecture. Evidence of the birds’ genetic diversity was provided by Irestedt et al (2006), who showed that the genus was not monophyletic.

DNA sequencing by Derryberry et al (2010) has now revealed that Asthenes comprises two groups that are not sister taxa. One group is made up of Cactus A cactorum, Steinbach’s A steinbachi, Patagonian A patagonica and Dusky-tailed A humicola Canasteros.

The other contains all the remaining Asthenes species, including the type species of Asthenes, A sordida, presently considered to be a subspecies of Sharp-billed Canastero A pyrrholeuca. It also contains a number of species sampled from the genera Schizoeaca and Oreophylax.

The first clade has been named Pseudasthenes and is sister to a clade composed of cacholotes Pseudoseisura and Bay-capped Wren-Spinetail Spartonoica maluroides.

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