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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Morphometric and genetic study of Ethiopian Lophuromys flavopunctatus THOMAS, 1888 species complex with description of three new 70-chromosomal species ( Muridae , Rodentia )

Leonid Lavrenchenko, Walter Verheyen, Erik Verheyen and Jan Hulselmans (2007)

Morphometric and genetic study of Ethiopian Lophuromys flavopunctatus THOMAS, 1888 species complex with description of three new 70-chromosomal species ( Muridae , Rodentia )

Bulletin de l'institut Royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, 77:77–117.

Morphological (multivariate craniometry) and genetic (cytochrome b sequence) analyses combined with available chromosome and RAPD data were performed to clarify species limits, distribution, and relationships in the diverse Lophuromys flavopunctatus species complex of Ethiopia. This approach allowed us to evaluate real taxonomic diversity of the group and describe three new species. The revealed level of interspecific morphological diversity in L. flavopunctatus s. lat. was significantly higher among Ethiopian taxa compared to non-Ethiopian ones. Moreover, the results of multivariate analyses of craniometric data provide independent support for our earlier supposition about the presence of both recent and ancient reticulate processes among Ethiopian Lophuromys species. In general, the results of our study support the recognition of nine distinct species (including newly described ones), all of which are endemic to this country. The current diversity of the group could be explained by intensive local speciation and accumulation of survived evolutionary lineages within the Ethiopian Plateau. Most of the Ethiopian members of this species complex are closely associated with montane forests; some of them have rather limited geographic ranges and seem to be threatened due to habitat destruction.

biodiversity., cytochrome b, Ethiopia, hybridization, lophuromys, morphometrics, Rodentia, taxonomy

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