Molecular and morphometric variation in two sibling species of the genus Praomys (Rodentia: Muridae): implications for biogeography
Kerbis Peterhans, J.
Biological collection and data management
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The rodent genus Praomys is widely distributed in the African tropics. The species are cryptic, rendering the species taxonomy unclear. There are differences of opinion concerning the specific status of Praomys misonnei and Praomys tullbergi, and their geographical distribution. We sequenced the cytochrome b and/or the 16S gene of 221 specimens from 12 countries in order to evaluate the genetic variability within these two species, and to precisely determine their geographical distribution. Morphological and morphometrical analyses on the sequenced specimens were also performed to find criteria useful for the identification of museum specimens. Our results confirm that P. misonnei and P. tullbergi are two valid species that can be separated by molecular data. However, no single discrete morphological character or simple metric measurement can be used to discriminate them. The percentage of misclassified individuals in multivariate discriminant analysis is relatively high (10%). The two species have allopatric distributions: P. tullbergi occurs in West Africa, from eastern Guinea to western Ghana, and P. misonnei is widely distributed from eastern Ghana to western Kenya. Within P. misonnei we identified three or four major geographical clades: a West Central African clade, an East African clade, a Nigerian clade, and a possible West African clade. Within P. misonnei, high geographical morphometrical variability was also identified. The role of both rivers and Pleistocene forest refugia in promoting speciation within the genus Praomys is discussed.
CitationNicolas, V.; Akpatou, B.; Wendelen, W.; Kerbis Peterhans, J.; Olayemi, A.; Decher, J.; Missoup, A.D.; Denys, C.; Barriere, P.; Cruaud, C.; Colyn, M. (2010). Molecular and morphometric variation in two sibling species of the genus Praomys (Rodentia: Muridae): implications for biogeography. , Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Vol. 160, 397-419,