Mesite

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Mesites
Subdesert Mesite.jpg
Subdesert mesite (Monias benschi)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Columbimorphae
Order: Mesitornithiformes
Wetmore, 1960
Family: Mesitornithidae
Wetmore, 1960
Genera

Mesitornis
Monias

Madagaskar-mesites-06.jpg
Respective ranges: brown mesite in orange, white-breasted mesite in green and subdesert mesite in blue

The mesites (Mesitornithidae) are a family of birds that are part of a clade (Columbimorphae) that include Columbiformes and Pterocliformes.[1] They are smallish flightless or near flightless birds endemic to Madagascar. They are the only family with more than two species in which every species is threatened (all three are listed as vulnerable).

Description[edit]

The mesites are forest and scrubland birds that feed on insects and seeds. The brown and white-breasted mesites forage on the ground, gleaning insects from the leaves and under them, as well as low vegetation. The subdesert mesite uses its long bill to probe in the soil. Other birds, such as drongos and flycatchers, will follow mesites to catch any insects they flush and miss. Mesites are vocal birds, with calls similar to passerine song, used for territorial defence. Two or three white eggs are laid in a stick-nest located in a bush or low branch.[2] The Mesitornis species are monogamous[3] while Monias benschi is polygamous and unlike the other two shows significant sexual dichromatism.

Systematics[edit]

There are two genera, Mesitornis (2 species) and Monias (subdesert mesite).[4][5]

Historically, mesites phylogenetics relations were not very clear and have been allied with the Gruiformes,[6] Turniciformes[7] and Columbiformes.[8]

Recent phylogenomic studies support Pterocliformes (sandgrouse) as the sister group of mesites[1][9][10] while some more recent studies place this clade with another clade constituted of Columbiformes and Cuculiformes (cuckoos).[11]

Columbiformes (pigeons)

Cuculiformes (cuckoos)

Pterocliformes (sandgrouses)

Mesitornithiformes (mesites)

Phylogenetic relationship of the mesites within Neoaves.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jarvis, E.D.; et al. (2014). "Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds". Science. 346 (6215): 1320–1331. doi:10.1126/science.1253451. PMC 4405904. PMID 25504713.
  2. ^ Archibald, George W. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-1-85391-186-6.
  3. ^ Gamero, A. et al. (2014) Delayed juvenile dispersal and monogamy, but no cooperative breeding in white-breasted mesites (Mesitornis variegata). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 68:73–83.
  4. ^ IOC World Bird List v6.3 [1]. "IOC Names File Plus 6.3". Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Part 7- Vertebrates". Collection of genus-group names in a systematic arrangement. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  6. ^ Sibley, Charles; Jon Edward Ahlquist (1990). Phylogeny and classification of birds. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04085-7.
  7. ^ Livezey, Bradley C.; Zusi, RL (January 2007). "Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 149 (1): 1–95. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2006.00293.x. PMC 2517308. PMID 18784798.
  8. ^ Hackett, S.J. et al. (2008) A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History. Science, 320(5884):1763–1768.
  9. ^ Fain, Matthew G.; Houde, Peter (2004). "Parallel radiations in the primary clades of birds". Evolution. 58 (11): 2558–2573. doi:10.1554/04-235. PMID 15612298.
  10. ^ Yuri, T.; et al. (2013). "Parsimony and Model-Based Analyses of Indels in Avian Nuclear Genes Reveal Congruent and Incongruent Phylogenetic Signals". Biology. 2 (1): 419–444. doi:10.3390/biology2010419. PMC 4009869. PMID 24832669.
  11. ^ a b H Kuhl, C Frankl-Vilches, A Bakker, G Mayr, G Nikolaus, S T Boerno, S Klages, B Timmermann, M Gahr (2020) An unbiased molecular approach using 3’UTRs resolves the avian family-level tree of life. Molecular Biology and Evolution, https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa191