The Henicorhina wood-wren complex consists of three taxonomic species. Two of these, the Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys) and the White-breasted Wood-Wren (H. leucosticta), are widespread throughout Central America and northern South America, with leucophrys occurring at higher elevations in regions where both occur. A third, recently described, species—the Bar-winged Wood-Wren (H. leucoptera)—occurs only in several isolated cordilleras in southeastern Ecuador and northeastern Peru, where it replaces the Gray-breasted Wood-Wren at the highest elevations. We used mitochondrial DNA sequences to explore the phylo-genetic relationships among populations of these taxa and to draw inferences about the evolutionary origins of elevational zonation. We found substantial mitochondrial diversity within both leucophrys and leucosticta. Differentiation across the Andes in leucophrys was negligible, but populations from Central America and from northwestern Ecuador showed substantial differentiation. Three highly differentiated haplotype groups were also present in leucosticta, corresponding to populations in the eastern Andean lowlands, Central America, and the Chocó region of northwestern Ecuador; these populations may each warrant taxonomic species status. Bar-winged haplo-types nested within the mitochondrially diverse leucosticta group, where they were most closely allied to the geographically distant Chocó haplotypes. This leucoptera-leucosticta affinity is not consistent with previous inferences, based on plumage and behavioral similarities, that grouped leucoptera and leucophrys as sister species. These reconstructions refute the hypothesis that elevational zonation in this clade originated from in situ speciation along an elevational gradient, and instead highlight the role of complex changes in geographic distributions in fostering phylogenetic and ecological diversification.
Reemplazos Altitudinales y Relaciones Filogenéticas en el Género Henicorhina (Troglodytidae)