Phylogenetic affinities of the New Zealand blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos)
We investigate the phylogenetic affinites of the New Zealand blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos), a riverine specialist of uncertain relationships, using 2613 bp of DNA sequence data from 3 mitochondrial genes. Hymenolaimus has variously been considered an aberrant Anas species, or an ancient taxa in the tribe Anatini. Presently, it is placed in a highly-derived clade (Tribe Merganettini) with the shelducks. Our findings show that Hymenolaimus forms a monophyletic clade, and does not fit within any of the other duck tribes around the world. Our study also confirms convergent evolution among duck species that inhabit fast flowing rivers.