Chendytes lawi, an extinct flightless diving anseriform from coastal California, was traditionally classified as a sea duck, tribe Mergini, based on similarities in osteological characters. We recover and analyze mitochondrial genomes of C. lawi and five additional Mergini species, including the extinct Labrador Duck, Camptorhynchus labradorius. Despite its diving morphology, C. lawi is reconstructed as an ancient relictual lineage basal to the dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini), revealing an additional example of convergent evolution of characters related to feeding behavior among ducks. The Labrador Duck is sister to Steller’s Eider which may provide insights into the evolution and ecology of this poorly known extinct species. Our results demonstrate that inclusion of full length mitogenomes, from taxonomically distributed ancient and modern sources can improve phylogeny reconstruction of groups previously assessed with shorter single-gene mitochondrial sequences.


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/ssci_fac/99