Informace o publikaci

Diversity and evolution of African Grass Rats (Muridae: Arvicanthis)-From radiation in East Africa to repeated colonization of northwestern and southeastern savannas



Rok publikování 2019
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Přírodovědecká fakulta

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Klíčová slova biogeography; Ethiopia; reticulate evolution; taxonomy; tropical Africa
Popis African Grass Rats of the genus Arvicanthis Lesson, 1842, are one of the most important groups of rodents in sub-Saharan Africa. They are abundant in a variety of open habitats, they are major agricultural pests, and they became a popular model in physiological research because of their diurnal activity. Despite this importance, information about their taxonomy and distribution is unsatisfactory, especially in eastern Africa. In this study, we collected the most comprehensive multilocus DNA dataset to date across the geographic and taxonomic range of the genus (229 genotyped specimens from 130 localities in 16 countries belonging to all currently recognized species). We reconstructed phylogenetic relationships, mapped the distribution of major genetic clades, and used the combination of cytogenetic, nuclear, and mitochondrial markers for species delimitations and taxonomic suggestions. The genus is composed of two major evolutionary groups, called here the ANSORGEI and NILOTICUS groups. The former contains four presumed species, while the latter is more diverse and we recognized nine species. Most relationships among species are not resolved, which suggests a rapid radiation (dated to early-middle Pleistocene). Further, there is an indication of reticulate evolution in Ethiopia, that is, the region of the highest Arvicanthis diversity. The distribution of genetic diversity suggests diversification in eastern Africa, followed by repeated dispersals to the west (Sudano-Guinean savannas) and to the south (Masai steppe). We propose nomenclatural changes for Ethiopian taxa and provide suggestions for future steps toward solving remaining taxonomic questions in the genus.

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