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Reevaluation of taxonomic structure of the root vole (Microtus oeconomus Pallas, 1776, Rodentia, Arvicolidae) from the territory of the former USSR based on evidence from craniometric and molecular data
Abramson N.I., Tikhonova E.P.
P. 63-73
Uni- and multivariate analyses of skull 27 measurements of 353 M. oeconomus specimens from 46 sites, covering most part of the range in Eurasia and 11 specimens from Alaska revealed the existence of three morphologically distinct groups. Therewith, two of them, uniting all samples from Palaearctic formed two clusters joined together, and each represented a set of samples that in its turn could be defined as so-called western and eastern groups. An approximate border between these groups can be allocated in the region of the Lena River. Morphological data are in good agreement here with molecular data in uniting all root voles from the European North in one group. Voles from Urals, Western Siberia and Krasnoyarsk Territory morphologically are very close to this north-European group, though molecular data place them in another clade. Distinction on western and eastern groups disagrees with molecular data. We relate this discrepancy only with poor sampling in molecular studies to the current moment. The third group is formed by samples from Chukotka, Alaska and Kamchatka and constitutes the so-called Beringian clade, what is in a good agreement with molecular data. However poorly studied with molecular methods the voles from Kamchatka differ seriously from other representatives of the group and no doubt that taxonomically they represent an independent taxon of subspecies rank.

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