The New World quails (Odontophoridae) are a family of galliforms that includes nine extant genera and 32 species. Little is known about the biogeography of the family or about the evolutionary relationships among the New World quail genera and species. This study used mitochondrial DNA to examine 1) the phylogenetic relationships among the New World quail genera, and the phylogeography of the northern (Colinus virginianus), Yucatán (Colinus nigrogularis), and crested (Colinus cristatus) bobwhites, and the scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) and Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that Odontophoridae was composed of three distinct lineages that diverged from one another during the Miocene: a Dendrortyx group composed of the genera Colinus, Callipepla, Oreortyx, Philortyx, and Dendrortyx; an Odontophorus group of Odontophorus, Dactylortyx, and Cyrtonyx, and the tawny–faced quail (Rhynchortyx cinctus). The northern and Yucatán bobwhites are more closely related to one another than to the crested bobwhite. The deep divergence between the two complexes indicates that the phylogenetic split occurred prior to the Pleistocene (2.5 million years ago). The northern–Yucatán bobwhite complex exhibited little phylogeographic structure and showed some evidence of range or demographic expansion during the Pleistocene, whereas the crested bobwhite was composed of four geographically and genetically distinct clades in Central and South America. The scaled quail displayed low genetic diversity and little structure across its limited range, possibly as a consequence of recent demographic growth and expansion after passing through a severe bottleneck. The Gambel’s quail is composed of two genetically distinct, but geographically overlapping clades. Both clades exhibited evidence of past demographic growth. Overall, little concordance between subspecies taxonomy and genetic data was observed in any of the species studied, except in the crested bobwhite.
July 13, 2015
The right to download or print any of the pages of this dissertation (Material) is granted by the copyright owner only for personal or classroom use. The author retains all proprietary rights, including copyright ownership. Any reproduction or editing or other use of this Material by any means requires the express written permission of the copyright owner. Except as provided above, or any use beyond what is allowed by fair use (Title 17 Section 107 U.S.C.), you may not reproduce, republish, post, transmit or distribute any Material from this web site in any physical or digital form without the permission of the copyright owner of the Material. Inquiries regarding any further use of these materials should be addressed to Administration, Jernigan Library, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 700 University Blvd. Kingsville, Texas 78363-8202, (361)593-3416.