A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the genera of fruit doves and allies using dense taxonomic sampling
Fruit doves and their allies are a diverse group within the pigeon and dove family (Aves: Columbidae). Progress towards subfamilial classification of Columbidae relies on identifying major groups and the phylogenetic relationships within these groups. One such recently proposed group is the Raphinae based on previous evidence that the extinct dodo is potentially within what was formerly recognized as the Treroninae (fruit doves and allies). Although several studies have explored the phylogenetic relationships within Columbidae, most have focused either on broad-scale, familial level relationships or finer scale, species level relationships. Here we use mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences from a diverse taxonomic sample to identify relationships among the genera and species of fruit doves and their allies. In particular our goal is to identify which of these genera should be included within Raphinae (the name which has taxonomic priority over Treroninae), focusing on an inclusive, well-supported monophyletic group. We also use dense taxon sampling to explore relationships among genera and species in this group, expanding on previous studies. In addition, we use resulting phylogenetic hypotheses to reconstruct the ancestral evolutionary history of foraging mode and biogeographic patterns of dispersal within the group. We used two data sets for our phylogenetic analysis: the first consisting of novel sequences generated for this project and the second with additional, previously published sequences from the fruit dove genus (Ptilinopus). Our analyses found support for the monophyly of a clade that contains a large fraction of the genera currently classified within Raphinae and also found several well-supported clades within this group of pigeons and doves. Character reconstruction methods based on the resulting phylogeny recover multiple transitions from a terrestrial to an arboreal foraging mode and evidence for multiple dispersal events from Asia to Africa throughout the history of the clade.