Mitochondrial DNA Phylogenetic Definition of a Group of ‘Arid-Zone’ Carduelini Finches

Antonio Arnaiz-Villena1, *, Juan Moscoso1, Valentin Ruiz-del-Valle1, Javier Gonzalez2, Raquel Reguera1, Almudena Ferri1, Michael Wink2, Juan Ignacio Serrano-Vela1
1 Department of Immunology, University Complutense, The Madrid Regional Blood Center, Madrid, Spain and
2 Institut für Pharmazie und Molekulare Biotechnologie, Abteilung Biologie, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

© 2008 Arnaiz-Villena et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Departamento de Inmunologia, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avenida Complutense s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain; Tel: +34913017354; Fax: +349130-17213; E-mail:;


Birds included within the Carduelini tribe (genera Rhodopechys, Carpodacus and Leucosticte) apparently belong to the same radiation according to molecular phylogenetic analyses. Our phylogenetic analyses based on nucleotide sequences of the cytochrome b gene (cyt-b) indicate that some of these birds (Rhodopechys mongolica, R. githaginea and Carpodacus nipalensis) do not cluster together with their respective phenetically defined allies. This new group of birds thrives in both hot and cold arid zones and are phenetically distinct, probably because of their adaptation to different extreme environments. Both maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods support the existence of this new evolutionary basal group among finches which might have originated about 14 million years ago.

Keywords: Carduelini, Carpodacus, finch, Fringillinae, Leucosticte, phylogeny, Rhodopechys, rosefinches.