Spotted flycatchers, new research


This video is about spotted flycatchers and their chicks at their nest in the Czech republic.

From the Journal of Avian Biology:

The role of western Mediterranean islands in the evolutionary diversification of the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), a long-distance migratory passerine species

Abstract

We investigated the evolutionary history of the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), a long distance migratory passerine having a widespread range, using mitochondrial markers and nuclear introns. Our mitochondrial results reveal the existence of one insular lineage restricted to the western Mediterranean islands (Balearics, Corsica, Sardinia) and possibly to the Tyrrhenian coast of Italy that diverged from the mainland lineages around 1 Mya. Mitochondrial genetic distance between insular and mainland lineages is around 3.5%.

Limited levels of shared nuclear alleles among insular and mainland populations further support the genetic distinctiveness of insular spotted flycatchers with respect to their mainland counterparts. Moreover, lack of mitochondrial haplotypes sharing between Balearic birds (M. s. balearica) and Corso-Sardinian birds (M. s. tyrrhenica) suggest the absence of recent matrilineal gene flow between these two insular subspecies. Accordingly, we suggest that insular Spotted Flycatchers could be treated as one polytypic species (Muscicapa tyrrhenica Schiebel, 1910) that differs from M. striata in morphology, migration, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and comprises two subspecies (the nominate and M. t. balearica, von Jordans, 1913) that diverged recently phenotypically and in mitochondrial DNA and but still share the same nuclear alleles.

This study provides an interesting case-study illustrating the crucial role of western Mediterranean islands in the evolution of a passerine showing high dispersal capabilities. Our genetic results highlight the role of glacial refugia of these islands that allowed initial allopatric divergence of insular populations. We hypothesize that differences in migratory and breeding phenology may prevent any current gene flow between insular and mainland populations of the Spotted Flycatcher that temporarily share the same insular habitats during the spring migration.

2 thoughts on “Spotted flycatchers, new research

  1. Pingback: Spotted flycatcher feeds chicks, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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