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Title: Taxonomic challenges posed by discordant evolutionary scenarios supported by molecular and morphological data in the Amazonian Synallaxis rutilans group (Aves: Furnariidae)

Alpha taxonomy endeavours to propose a coherent vision of existing species and, simultaneously, to individualize the natural entities useful to understand evolutionary processes. This ideal is especially difficult when available data lack congruence. Here we address the polytypic species Synallaxis rutilans (ruddy spinetail), a suboscine passerine widely distributed in the Amazon Basin and whose taxonomy could, potentially, aid our understanding of processes shaping its biodiversity. Combining genetic [genomic ultraconserved elements (UCE) and mtDNA] and morphological data, we demonstrate that while delimitation of genetic lineages and their phylogenetic relationships are strongly associated with classic Amazonian geographic barriers, such as rivers, different coloration patterns appear to be more associated with local selection processes for phenotype. Employing an evolutionary approach, whereby the species is considered a taxonomic category, rather than a nomenclatural rank, we propose to recognize five species: S. amazonica, S. caquetensis, S. dissors, S. omissa and S. rutilans. The taxonomic arrangement proposed here permits better understanding of the similarities and differences among taxa from different areas of endemism, and represents patterns of genetic and morphological diversity resulting from distinct processes acting across certain time frames. This arrangement draws attention to the importance of understanding the evolutionary processes operating in the complex and constantly changing Amazonian landscape.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Medium: X Size: p. 65-87
["p. 65-87"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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