Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new species of tapaculo in South America

12.03.2015

From museum drawers to the new species list: tapaculos add to the biodiversity of the New World tropics!

After being misidentified and sitting in a museum drawer for more than seventy years, a group of bird specimens collected in Colombia and Venezuela has been determined to represent a previously unknown species, now dubbed the Perijá Tapaculo (Scytalopus perijanus).


This image shows a female (left), male (right) and fledgling (center) Perijá Tapaculos.

Credit: J. Fjeldså

In a new paper in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, Jorge Avendaño of the Universidad de los Llanos and his colleagues describe how the Perijá Tapaculo differs from the other birds in its genus in its genetics, appearance, ecology, and vocalizations.

Tapaculos are a family of mostly small black or brown songbirds found in South and Central America, which forage for insects in grasslands and forest undergrowth. In 1941 and 1942, ornithologist Melbourne Carriker, Jr. explored the western slope of the Serranía de Perijá mountain range on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, where he collected 27 tapaculo specimens and sent them to the Smithsonian.

At the time, they were mistakenly identified as Scytalopus atratus nigricans, a similar bird found at lower elevations, and in the following decades these upper montane tapaculos remained overlooked and unstudied.

In 2008 and 2009, however, a new set of specimens and sound recordings was collected in the same region visited by Carriker, and Dr. Avendaño and his colleagues were able to conduct a genetic analysis as well as analyzing the birds' appearance and calls.

The newly-named Perijá Tapaculo is a small bird with a buffy belly, gray back, and brown nape, and its song and calls are distinctly different from those of other tapaculos. Its high level of genetic divergence from its closest relatives suggests that that its high mountain habitat has isolated it from its cousins for a significant amount of time.

"While it was known that two species occurred in the Perijá mountains, it was a distinct surprise that the upper elevational form differs as much as 8-9% from its closest relatives," says tapaculo expert Niels Krabbe. "This emphasizes the importance of the Perijá mountains as an evolutionary center, and calls for further studies of its flora and fauna."

Unfortunately, due to habitat loss in the region, this new species is already in trouble. "The species is more seriously threatened on the Colombian slope than on the Venezuelan slope because its habitat is protected by a large National Park in Venezuela," explains Dr. Avendaño. "So, we recommend establishing a new national park or a network of reserves in Colombia connected to the Sierra de Perijá National Park of Venezuela. This binational park is necessary in order to effectively preserve the high species diversity and endemism of birds and other biological groups of the region."

###

"A new species of tapaculo (Rhinocryptidae: Scytalopus) from the Serranía de Perijá of Colombia and Venezuela" is an open-access article available at http://www.aoucospubs.org/doi/full/10.1642/AUK-14-166.1. Contact: Jorge Enrique Avendaño, jorgeavec@gmail.com.

About the journal: The Auk: Ornithological Advances is a peer-reviewed, international journal of ornithology. The journal has been the official publication of the American Ornithologists' Union since 1884. In 2009, The Auk was honored as one of the 100 most influential journals of biology and medicine over the past 100 years, and currently holds the top impact factor among ornithological journals.

Media Contact

Jorge Enrique Avendaño
jorgeavec@gmail.com

h

Jorge Enrique Avendaño | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>