I reconstructed the phylogeny of 12 Ramphastos toucan taxa using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. This analysis identified two major groups, including a monophyletic smooth-billed yelping clade and a clade including most, but not all, the channel-keel-billed croakers. Within the R. tucanus and R. vitellinus groups, uncorrected mtDNA divergences are relatively low and mtDNA sequences from several subspecies are paraphyletic. One exception to low divergences within the R. vitellinus group is R. v. ariel from southeastern Brazil, which on average differs from all other R. vitellinus sampled by 2.9%. Character reconstructions on the phylogeny indicate that the ancestral Ramphastos was most likely a large-bodied channel- keel-billed croaker. Furthermore, an assessment of the patterns of bill shape, voice, and both plumage and bare-part coloration characters suggests that bill shape and voice have significant phylogenetic signal but that color characters do not. Sympatric Ramphastos taxa are not closely related in the phylogeny; therefore, character reconstructions indicate that the extreme similarity in coloration patterns between many sympatric Ramphastos pairs is most likely attributable to a combination of convergence or parallelism (homoplasy) and shared ancestral character states (symplesiomorphy).
Filogenética Molecular de los Tucanes del Género Ramphastos: Implicaciones para la Evolución de la Morfología, las Vocalizaciones y la Coloración