We reconstructed the phylogeographic relationships of the Variable Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus) using DNA sequence data. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian analysis methods were used to reconstruct trees from a multilocus data set of all 15 named subspecies of the Ceyx lepidus species complex. The concatenated data-set length was 2,471 base pairs and included two mitochondrial genes and two noncoding nuclear introns. Support for the monophyly of C. lepidus was equivocal. We instead found support for a clade including all C. lepidus subspecies plus two endemic Philippine taxa: C. argentatus and C. cyanopectus. Relationships among subspecific taxa were not well resolved, and many nodes were collapsed into polytomies suggesting a rapid and widespread colonization. In situ diversification likely played a role in generating current diversity within four archipelagos: the Philippines, Malukus, Bismarcks, and Solomons. Some biogeographic patterns recovered for the Solomon Islands taxa match those seen in other bird species, such as the close relationship of taxa on Bougainville, Choiseul, and Isabel. By contrast, the sister relationship between populations on Guadalcanal and the New Georgia Group is novel. We discuss species limits and make taxonomic recommendations to treat all 15 subspecies of C. lepidus as species.
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Vol. 130 • No. 1