Speciation in Indo-Pacific swiftlets (Aves: Apodidae): integrating molecular and phenotypic data for a new provisional taxonomy of the Collocalia esculenta complex
Rheindt, F, Christidis, L, Norman, JA, Eaton, JA, Sadanandan, KR & Schodde, R 2017, 'Speciation in Indo-Pacific swiftlets (Aves: Apodidae): integrating molecular and phenotypic data for a new provisional taxonomy of the Collocalia esculenta complex', Zootaxa, vol. 4250, no. 5, pp. 401-433.
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White-bellied swiftlets of the Collocalia esculenta complex constitute a radiation of colony-breeding swifts distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific region. Resolution of their taxonomy is challenging due to their morphological uniformity. To analyze the evolutionary history of this complex, we combine new biometric measurements and results from plumage assessment of museum specimens with novel as well as previously published molecular data. Together, this body of information constitutes the largest systematic dataset for white-bellied swiftlets yet compiled, drawn from 809 individuals belonging to 32 taxa for which new molecular, biometric, and/or plumage data are presented. We propose changing the classification of white-bellied swiftlets, for which two species are currently recognized, to elevate eight regional forms to species level, and we also describe two new subspecies. The ten taxa we recommend recognizing at the species level are: Collocalia linchi (Java to Lombok, Sumatran hills), C. dodgei (montane Borneo), C. natalis (Christmas Island), C. affinis (Greater Sundas, including the Thai-Malay Peninsula and Andaman–Nicobar Islands), C. marginata (Philippines), C. isonota (Philippines), C. sumbawae (west Lesser Sundas), C. neglecta (east Lesser Sundas), C. esculenta (Sulawesi, Moluccas, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands), and C. uropygialis (Vanuatu, New Caledonia). Future molecular and morphological work is needed to resolve questions of speciation and population affinities in the Philippines, Christmas Island, Wallacea and central Melanesia, and to shed light on historic diversification and patterns of gene flow in the complex.