Discrimination of the sibling species Apodemus flavicollis and A-sylvaticus (Rodentia, Muridae)
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Karyotyping and several molecular methods have allowed successful identification of two morphologically similar wide-ranging Western Palearctic species, the yellow-necked field mouse Apodemus flavicollis (Melchior, 1934) and the long-tailed wood mouse A. sylvaticus (Linnaeus, 1758), but reliable species diagnosis on the basis of morphometric characters is particularly problematic. Although they are easily morphologically distinguishable in Central and Northern Europe, this is not the case in southern parts of their distribution areas. Despite that, we have successfully discriminated A. flavicollis and A. sylvaticus from Serbia (Southern Europe) using geometric and traditional morphometric methods on a data set for ventral crania of specimens previously genotyped by the Inter Simple Sequence Repeat-PCR (ISSR-PCR). Discrimination power of applied approaches was more or less similar. The majority of our results were consistent with those obtained for specimens collected across the Czech Republic (Central Europe). Morphological differences observed herein, as well as those already reported between A. flavicollis and A. sylvaticus from the central and northern parts of their distribution areas, could be the outcome of their biology, i.e. ecological discrepancies, different assumed evolutionary scenarios considering biogeography, phylogeny, history and ontogeny. (C) 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.