Genic and morphometric variation in kangaroo rats, genus Dipodomys, from coastal California

Troy L. Best, Ronald K. Chesser, David A. Mccullough, George D. Baumgardner

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genic and morphometric variation was examined among populations of Dipodomys agilis, E. elephantinus, and D. venustus from the Pacific coastal ranges of central and southcentral California to ascertain their systematic relationships. Genic data separated D. agilis from D. elephantinus and D. venustus on the basis of six unique alleles, and the two populations of D. agilis were separated from one another by three fixed alleles. D. elephantinus and D. venustus were not separated from each other by any fixed allelic differences, although D. venustus had one allele at a polymorphic locus that was not present in D. elephantinus. Multivariate analyses of external and cranial characters placed both populations of D. venustus close together, the two populations of D. agilis were well separated from D. venustus and each other, and D. elephantinus was placed apard from D. venustus. This study indicates that D. agilis is not conspecific with D. elephantinus or D. venustus. Although D. elephantinus differs from D. venustus in several morphometric characters, none can reliably differentiate between them. D. elephantinus is considered to be a subspecies of D. venustus because these taxa are nearly identical genetically, karyotypically, and in bacular morphology. In addition, the degrees of differences in external and cranial characters are similar to those observed among populations of other species of Dipodomys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-800
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume77
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1996

Keywords

  • California
  • Dipodomys
  • Heteromyidae
  • genic variation
  • geographic variation
  • kangaroo rat
  • morphologic variation

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