They reconstruct the evolutionary history of the common chaffinch and propose four new species
Scientists from National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) and the Oviedo University have reconstructed how the dispersal of the common finches occurred, Unmarried customers, in Macaronesia by analyzing genomic markers.
The results demonstrate the continental origin of this type of bird, and how from Eurasia and North Africa, finches first colonized the Azores archipelago, then Madeira and finally the Canary Islands.
In each of these places they formed populations genetically differentiated and they accumulated differences in their morphology and plumage color. Therefore, the researchers propose raising to the rank of species to the finches of North Africa, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands.
The story of a process of speciation
The size of a sparrow, the chaffinch it is one of the most abundant birds in the forests of our territory. Its area of distribution goes from North Africa, all of Europe and Asia, where it reaches the west of Mongolia and Siberia, passing through the archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, that is to say all the macaronesian islands except Cape Verde and the Savages.
“Genomic analyzes have allowed us to understand how the colonization of the Macaronesian archipelagos took place and to what extent these populations have evolved to form different species”, explains the MNCN researcher Mary remembers.
The size of a sparrow, the common chaffinch is one of the most abundant birds in the forests of our territory
The study, published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, shows that the colonization of these birds followed a surprising route. About 800,000 years ago they left the continent and reached the Azores, and from there they continued to Madeira and finally at Canary Islands.
“In addition to the curiosity of the route, since by distance it would seem more likely that the species had reached the Canary Islands before the Azores, we have been surprised by the high genetic variability that the Azores populations harbor,” says Remember.
“We believe that the groups that arrived from the continent were very numerous and maintained high genetic variability, something that did not occur in the later island colonizations, since the reduction of genetic variability as colonization progresses is clearly appreciated, finding a diversity lower in Madeira and even lower in the Canary Islands ”, he continues.
The results obtained reveal a marked genetic differentiation between subspecies that coincides with morphological differences, and that is why we propose that the populations of North Africa, Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands be elevated to the rank of species.
Maria Remembers (MNCN)
Due to the differences of color and morphology, the different populations studied have so far been considered subspecies of the Eurasian species, Unmarried customers.
There are three subspecies in Africa, of which we have worked with Unmarried African Americans; one in Azores, Unmarried customers moreletti; one in Madeira, Fringilia coelebs maderensis, and four in Canary Islands that correspond to the area in which they live, A celibate palm tree, on The Palm, Fringilla coelebs bakeri, on Gran canaria, Unmarried canariensis, on the slingshot and Tenerife and Unmarried ombriosa, on The iron.
“The results obtained reveal a marked genetic differentiation between subspecies that coincides with the morphological differences, and for this reason we propose that the populations of North Africa, Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands be elevated to the rank of species, so that four new ones are recognized species, while the species from the Canary Islands and North Africa maintain their respective subspecies ”, concludes the MNCN researcher.
M. Recuerda et al. “Sequential colonization of oceanic archipelagos led to a species-level radiation in the common chaffinch complex (Aves: Fringilla coelebs)”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
Rights: Creative Commons.