“A new species develops if a population which has become geographically isolated from its parental species acquires during this period of isolation characters which promote or guarantee reproductive isolation when the external barriers break down. ”
In Systematics and the Origin of Species: From the Viewpoint of a
Zoologist (1942), 155.
The common pheasant, Phasianus colchicus widely distributes in Eurasia with substantially morphological variation in males, which is associated with several taxonomic groups. Thirty-one subspecies have been identified, which constitute five major morphological groups. Thus, this species is a versatile model to investigate biogeography of Asia, avian speciation and macroevolution pattern. We are conducting a long-term molecular systematic study of common pheasant. One previous study based on 15 subspecies in China revealed a few deep-divergent mtDNA haplogroups which is consistent with associated morphological groups, but relatively shallow genealogies among subspecies and introgression among subspecies within each haplogroup. Now we are genotyping individuals from an enlarged sample set (> 20 subspecies) at several nuclear markers. Using advanced demographic modeling approaches, we are investigating evolutionary history and biogeography of common pheasants in Asia. Further, morphological data and other ecological factors will be incorporated with genetic information to allow comprehensive analysis to reveal macroevolution pattern of common pheasant, especially linking with some "non-neutral" processes like local adaptation and sex-selection.