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Dramatic niche shifts and morphological change in two insular bird species
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2015 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 2, 140364Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Colonizations of islands are often associated with rapid morphological divergence. We present two previously unrecognized cases of dramatic morphological change and niche shifts in connection with colonization of tropical forest-covered islands. These evolutionary changes have concealed the fact that the passerine birds madanga, Madanga ruficollis, from Buru, Indonesia, and São Tomé shorttail, Amaurocichla bocagii, from São Tomé, Gulf of Guinea, are forest-adapted members of the family Motacillidae (pipits and wagtails). We show that Madanga has diverged mainly in plumage, which may be the result of selection for improved camouflage in its new arboreal niche, while selection pressures for other morphological changes have probably been weak owing to preadaptations for the novel niche. By contrast, we suggest that Amaurocichla's niche change has led to divergence in both structure and plumage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 2, 140364
Keyword [en]
speciation, adaptive change, niche shifts, morphological divergence
National Category
Biological Systematics
Research subject
Diversity of life
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-1179DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140364OAI: diva2:795588
Swedish Research Council, 621-2010-5321
Available from: 2015-03-16 Created: 2015-03-16 Last updated: 2015-03-16

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Ericson, Per G PIrestedt, Martin
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Research DivisionDepartment of Bioinformatics and Genetics
Biological Systematics

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