Phylogeny and biogeography of dabbling ducks (genus: Anas): A comparison of molecular and morphological evidence

Kevin P. Johnson, Michael D. Sorenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We constructed a phylogeny for the dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini) based on cytochrome-b and ND2 mitochondrial gene DNA sequences. This phylogeny differed in several important respects from a morphological phylogeny developed by Livezey (1991), including the distinctiveness of the blue-winged ducks from other dabbling ducks, the inclusion of the genus Tachyeres and exclusion of Callonetta from the subtribe Anateae, and the lack of support for Mareca as a genus separate from Alias. Characters from three other data sets showed greater consistency with the molecular topology than with the morphological topology. The molecular phylogeny divides the dabbling ducks into four distinct groups: (1) four South American genera, including Amazonetta, Lophonetta, Speculanas, and Tachyeres; (2) the Baikal Teal (Anas formosa); (3) the blue-winged ducks and allies; and (4) a large clade including wigeons, pintails, mallards, and several teal lineages. An examination of the distributions of species in light of the phylogeny indicates relatively little biogeographic structure. Geographic origin for most internal branches is ambiguous using several reconstruction methods. We suggest that the high dispersal ability of birds (especially dabbling ducks) has important implications for recovery of branches using molecular systematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-805
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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