We sequenced the mitochondrial ND2 gene for 290 Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus) sampled from northern Washington to Guatemala. Phylogenetic analysis sorted specimens into 2 main lineages residing either west (coastal) or east (inland) of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. These lineages are separated by 3.5% sequence divergence and correspond with the distributions of 2 long-recognized phenotype groupings (brown-capped and plumbeous, respectively). Three additional monophyletic geographically structured lineages were identified. Birds from southmost Baja California (Sierra de la Laguna) segregate from other coastal samples whereas the inland lineage includes additional lineages occurring in southeastern Mexico (Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero, and Oaxaca) plus Guatemala, and southwestern Mexico (Michoacán). Examination of museum specimens revealed that a black-eared phenotype occurs sporadically in the interior lineage in southern U.S. and northern Mexico, increasing in frequency to the south, corresponding roughly with these southern Mexican mtDNA lineages. Degree of sequence divergence between the 2 main lineages suggests a relatively early divergence, and ample time for 2-way introgression to occur. However, only 1 of our sampling localities (Lake Co., Oregon; n = 4) was mixed for coastal (n = 1) and interior (n = 3) lineages suggesting the possibility of reproductive isolation between the 2 main lineages.

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