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Genetic analysis supports elevating Cape Parrot to new species

Date:
August 12, 2015
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
In support of previous research, the Cape Parrot should be elevated to the species level, scientists report. The Cape Parrot is currently considered a Poicephalus robustus sub-species, along with P. r. fuscicollis and P. r. suahelicus, but based on morphological, ecological, and behavioral assessments, this report suggests that the Cape Parrot should be a distinct species.
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This is a male Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus).
Credit: Cyril Laubscher

In support of previous research, the Cape Parrot should be elevated to the species level, according to a new genetic analysis study publish August 12, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Willem Coetzer from University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and colleagues.

The Cape Parrot is currently considered a Poicephalus robustus sub-species, along with P. r. fuscicollis and P. r. suahelicus, but based on morphological, ecological, and behavioral assessments, some scientists believe the Cape Parrot should be a distinct species. In this study, researchers investigated these recommendations using DNA analyses. They genotyped over 130 specimens from five Poicephalus species and sequenced two mitochondrial and one nuclear intron marker.

The author's data analysis identified the Cape Parrot as genetically distinct from the other P. robustus subspecies. Their analysis places the most recent common ancestor between the Cape Parrot and P. r. fuscicollis and P. r. suahelicus at about 2 million years ago. The authors suggest their results support previous recommendations to elevate the Cape Parrot to species level, which may facilitate better planning and implementation of international and local conservation management strategies for the Cape Parrot.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Coetzer WG, Downs CT, Perrin MR, Willows-Munro S. Molecular Systematics of the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus): Implications for Taxonomy and Conservation. PLoS ONE, August 2015 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133376

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Genetic analysis supports elevating Cape Parrot to new species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812151214.htm>.
PLOS. (2015, August 12). Genetic analysis supports elevating Cape Parrot to new species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812151214.htm
PLOS. "Genetic analysis supports elevating Cape Parrot to new species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812151214.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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