Knowlton, Jessie L., Flaspohler, David J., Mcinerney, N. C. R., and Fleischer, Robert C. 2014. "First Record of Hybridization in the Hawaiian Honeycreepers: 'I'iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) × 'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea)." Wilson Journal of Ornithology 126 (3):562-568. https://doi.org/10.1676/13-054.1
ABSTRACT The adaptive radiation of the Hawaiian honeycreepers is the largest ever recorded for birds on an oceanic archipelago. Despite including >50 species in 21 genera, no hybridizations across honeycreeper species have ever been confirmed. Here, we report genetic and morphological analyses that verify the first hybrid between two Hawaiian honeycreeper species: the 'I'iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) and 'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea). This hybridization is notable given that the parental species diverged ~1.6 mya and show distinct morphological differences. Further, this discovery is important in light of recent evidence that hybridization plays an important role in speciation and genetic diversity in both plants and animals.