Very few South American avian superspecies or species groups are composed of both forest and non-forest taxa. The genus Lepidocolaptes comprises 8-9 species of woodcreepers, most of which are forest birds, but two species, L. angustirostris and L. souleyetii, inhabit open vegetations. Therefore, this genus should play an important role in the discussion about the relationships between forest and non-forest South American avifaunas. Nucleotide sequences from two mitochondrial genes, cytochrome b and ND2, suggest that: (i) L. fuscus should be removed from the genus since its association with other members of this genus is poorly supported. This view has been pointed out also by morphological and behavioural data; (ii) the phylogenetic position of the open-vegetation species within the Lepidocolaptes radiation indicate that the split between forest and non-forest elements within this genus took place as recently as two million years ago. This result suggests that the evolutionary relationships between forest and non-forest biotas in South America may have been more dynamic than previously thought.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology