Continental-scale analysis reveals deep diversification within the polytypic Red-crowned Ant Tanager (Habia rubica, Cardinalidae)

Pablo D. Lavinia, Patricia Escalante, Natalia C. García, Ana S. Barreira, Natalia Trujillo-Arias, Pablo L. Tubaro, Kazuya Naoki, Cristina Y. Miyaki, Fabrício R. Santos, Darío A. Lijtmaer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We explored the phylogeographic patterns of intraspecific diversity in the Red-crowned Ant Tanager (Habia rubica) throughout its continent-wide distribution, in order to understand its evolutionary history and the role of evolutionary drivers that are considered to promote avian diversification in the Neotropics. We sampled 100 individuals of H. rubica from Mexico to Argentina covering the main areas of its disjunct distribution. We inferred phylogenetic relationships through Bayesian and maximum parsimony methodologies based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers, and complemented genetic analyses with the assessment of coloration and behavioral differentiation. We found four deeply divergent phylogroups within H. rubica: two South American lineages and two Mexican and Middle American lineages. The divergence event between the northern and southern phylogroups was dated to c. 5.0. Ma, seemingly related to the final uplift of the Northern Andes. Subsequently, the two South American phylogroups split c. 3.5. Ma possibly due to the development of the open vegetation corridor that currently isolates the Amazonian and Atlantic forests. Diversification throughout Mexico and Middle America, following dispersion across the Isthmus of Panama, was presumably more recent and coincident with Pleistocene climatic fluctuations and habitat fragmentations. The analyses of vocalizations and plumage coloration showed significant differences among main lineages that were consistent with the phylogenetic evidence. Our findings suggest that the evolutionary history of H. rubica has been shaped by an assortment of diversification drivers at different temporal and spatial scales resulting in deeply divergent lineages that we recommend should be treated as different species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-193
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the curators, collectors and staff of the Institutions that loaned tissue samples: American Museum of Natural History; Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt; Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science; Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi; University of Washington Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Special thanks to the staff of the Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt for their collaboration with the samples from Colombia. We also thank the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds of the Cornell University and the Fonoteca Neotropical Jacques Vielliard for providing the sound recordings. We particularly thank I. Gómez, C. Kopuchian, G.S. Cabanne, P. Benites, L. Campagna, L.E. Lopes, F. Sebaio, and M. Marini for their participation in collection expeditions. We are also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript. We thank the Administración de Parques Nacionales and Secretaría de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable de la Nación from Argentina for granting the permits. We thank G.S. Cabanne and L. Campagna for their suggestions. This study was funded by: the Universidad de Buenos Aires, the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas, and the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica from Argentina; the International Developmental Research Centre of Canada; the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa from São Paulo and Minas Gerais, the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico from Brazil; and the NSF and NASA from United States.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Aves
  • Diversification
  • Habia rubica
  • Lowland forests
  • Neotropics
  • Phylogeography


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