Relationships of song structure to phylogenetic history, habitat, and morphology in the vireos, greenlets, and allies (Passeriformes: Vireonidae)

Wilson, David R. and Mejias, Miguel Alberto and Roncal, Julissa and Imfeld, Tyler S. and Boisen, Sander (2020) Relationships of song structure to phylogenetic history, habitat, and morphology in the vireos, greenlets, and allies (Passeriformes: Vireonidae). Evolution, 74 (11). pp. 2494-2511. ISSN 1558-5646

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Acoustic signals show immense variation among passerines, and several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this diversity. In this study, we tested, for the first time, the relationships of song structure to phylogeny, habitat type, and morphology in the vireos and allies (Vireonidae). Every measure of song structure considered in this study had moderate and significant phylogenetic signal. Furthermore, two song-constraining morphological traits, bill shape and body mass, also exhibited significant phylogenetic signal. Song length showed the largest within-clade similarity; longer songs were highly conserved in part of the greenlet (Hylophilus) clade, whereas shorter songs characterized the remaining seven genera. We found no differences in song structure among vireonids living in different habitat types. However, vireonids with shorter, stouter bills and larger bodies sang songs with lower minimum and maximum peak frequency, compared with species with longer, thinner bills and smaller bodies. We conclude that Vireonidae song evolution is driven partially by phylogenetically conserved morphological traits. Our findings support the phylogenetic signal and morphological constraints hypotheses explaining structural diversity in avian acoustic signals.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 16078
Keywords: habitat, evolution, phylogenetic comparative methods, phylogenetic signal, morphology, song evolution, sexual selection, vireos, Vireonidae
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1 November 2020
Date Type: Publication
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