A Molecular Assessment of the Taxonomy of Iranian Sylvia Warblers (Aves; Sylviidae)

Document Type: Research Article


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Research Department of Zoological Innovations (RDZI), Institute of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

4 Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, Box 461, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden



The largest genus in the Sylviidae family is Sylvia, which is the archetype for warblers. It contains up to 28 species that are distributed in the Old World. Here, we study Iranian Sylvia using cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and cytochrome b (cytb) mitochondrial markers to identify them and place them in a phylogenetic context using all available GenBank samples of sufficient length. Bayesian trees for both cytb and cox1 mitochondrial markers are compatible. Previous results suggesting that the Sylvia curruca complex is separated into two major clades with high support are corroborated, as our results show two main clades, one that includes Sylvia atricapilla and Sylvia borin plus Pseudoalcippe atriceps and Lioptilus nigricapillus, and the remainder of the Sylvia species in the other one. Our study did not support the geographical groups: The West-Mediterranean group, the Central-Mediterranean group, and the East-Mediterranean or the African-European species, the African-Asian species, and the Mediterranean species inferred on molecular evidenced by previous studies. Sylvia cantillans is divided into three clades, corroborating previous studies. All Iranian samples were conclusively identified to species level, and none of them give rise to any further taxonomic inquiry.


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