Phylogeography and patterns of differentiation in the Curve-billed Thrasher

Octavio R. Rojas-Soto, Alejandro Espinosa De Los Monteros, Robert M. Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and morphological studies suggest that the Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) consists of three historical groups, corresponding to the subspecies curvirostre and palmeri and a new taxon distributed in Oaxaca and Puebla. Previous mtDNA analysis did not include the subspecies T. c. insularum found on Tiburon Island (Sonora, Mexico). We collected new samples to address the distinctiveness of the three groups, to explore possible contact between the curvirostre and southern clades, to clarify the status of T. c. insularum, and to explore population histories of the major clades. Our mtDNA results confirm the existence of three major haplotype clades, which represent either two or three species depending on the species concept used. We interpret the occurrence of two mismatched haplotypes in Puebla and Oaxaca as recent gene flow. Haplotypes from Tiburon Island were intermixed within the palmeri clade, thereby failing to support the subspecies T. c. insularum. In contrast, principal components analysis of morphological data showed that insularum was distinct and, given the lack of mtDNA distinctiveness, suggests rapid phenotypic evolution on the island. The molecular data suggest that the widespread curvirostre clade has undergone recent population growth, whereas the other two clades appear to have been more stable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-463
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • Gene tree
  • Introgression
  • Morphometric variation
  • Phylogeography
  • Species limits
  • Subspecies
  • Toxostoma curvirostre


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