Molecular data delineate four genera of "Thryothorus" wrens

Nigel I. Mann, F. Keith Barker, Jeff A. Graves, Kimberly A. Dingess-Mann, Peter J.B. Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Wrens of the genus Thryothorus comprise over a third of the species diversity in the family Troglodytidae. In addition to this species diversity, these wrens vary in a number of behavioral characteristics, in particular in the presence and structure of vocal duets, which makes them an interesting target for comparative evolutionary ecological and behavioral study. However, no phylogenetic hypothesis for this group-which would provide a sound basis for comparative analysis-is currently available. While previous molecular phylogenetic work established conclusively that the type of this genus, Thryothorus ludovicianus (Latham), was not part of a monophyletic group with other Thryothorus, the exact limits of the genus could not be established due to limited taxon sampling. Here, we present molecular data from all but four currently recognized species of Thryothorus. These data confirm that Thryothorus is paraphyletic, and that the type T. ludovicianus does not form a monophyletic group with any other member of the genus. Based on analyses of our data, we resurrect two previously recognized wren genera, Pheugopedius and Thryophilus, and erect a new genus-Cantorchilus-to house the remaining ex-Thryothorus species. Our hypothesis of relationships will provide a firm basis for future behavioral and morphological analyses of these species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-759
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Cytochrome b
  • Duetting
  • Intron
  • β-Fibrinogen

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