Phenetic relationships among four Apodemus species (Rodentia, Muridae) inferred from skull variation
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© 2011 Elsevier GmbH
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Phenetic relationships among four Apodemus species (A. agrarius, A. epimelas, A. flavicollis and A. sylvaticus) inferred from skull (mandible and cranium) variation were explored using landmark-based geometric morphometrics. Analysis of size variation revealed that mandibles and crania of A. epimelas were the largest, followed by those of A. flavicollis, while A. agrarius and A. sylvaticus had the smallest ones. Phenetic relationships inferred from mandible shape variation better reflected phylogenetic relationships among the analyzed Apodemus species than those inferred from cranial differences. Concerning cranial shape variation, the most differentiated species was A. epimelas, whose ecology clearly differs from the other three species. Thus, differentiation of the mandible provided a pattern fully concordant with the phylogeny, while the cranium differentiation was in agreement with ecology expectations. The most evident shape changes of mandible and cranium involved the angular process and facial region, respectively. We also found that allometry had a significant influence on shape variation and that size-dependent shape variation differed among the analyzed species. Moreover, mandible and cranium are differently influenced by allometric changes. Different phenetic relationships inferred from mandible and cranium shape variation imply that phylogeny, ecology, together with factors related to size differences are all involved in the observed morphological divergence among the analyzed Apodemus species. (C) 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Apodemus; Mandible; Cranium; Geometric morphometrics; Phylogeny; Ecology; Allometry
Source:Zoologischer Anzeiger, 2012, 251, 1, 26-37
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