1 1College of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Leshan Teachers College, Leshan, Sichuan Province 614004, China; School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730000, China; Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering
Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730000, China
2 2School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730000, China
Tetraophasis (Galliformes; Phasianidae) includes T. obscurus and T. szechenyii, which are endemic and distributed in the west and central parts of China. The phylogenetic status of Tetraophasis in the Phasianidae and the divergence of the two species are still controversial. We performed a phylogenetic study using DNA sequences of 828bp of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (Cytb) genes of Tetraophasis and of selected species of several other genera of Phasianidae. The phylogenetic trees suggest that Tetraophasis species belong to Phasianinae, which is inconsistent with the traditional taxonomic view that these species belong to Perdicinae. Sequence difference between T. obscurus and T. szechenyii was 3.0-3.1% and the divergence time was 1.88-1.94 Myr based on molecular clock estimate. Compared with other genera, T. obscurus and T. szechenyii should be classified as two distinct species. Our data suggest that the divergence of Tetraophasis may have been induced by the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and by environmental changes.