Molecular systematics, taxonomy and biogeography of the genus Cavia (Rodentia: Caviidae)

Jonathan L. Dunnum, Jorge Salazar-Bravo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Phylogenetic analyses were conducted on cytochrome b sequence data of the most geographically and taxonomically broad sampling of Cavia taxa to date. Primary objectives included providing the first extensive molecular phylogenetic framework for the genus, testing the taxonomic and systematic hypotheses of previous authors and providing insight into the evolutionary and biogeographic history of the genus. Support was found for the morphologically defined species C. aperea, C. tschudii, C. magna and C. fulgida and the taxonomic placement of taxa previously subject to conflicting taxonomic opinions (e.g. C. nana, C. anolaimae and C. guianae) was further resolved. Additionally, we elevate the Ecuadorian C. a. patzelti to species status, restrict the distributional limits and suggest taxonomic affiliations of some C. tschudii subspecies, and provide strong evidence for the geographic origin of guinea pig domestication. Finally, we provide an estimated evolutionary timeline for the genus Cavia, which appears to extend well into the late Miocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-388
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Caviomorpha
  • Cytochrome b
  • Guinea pig
  • Phylogeny
  • South America


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