Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A multidimensional approach for detecting species patterns in Malagasy vertebrates

This paper sets out to make an inventory of the vertebrate species that inhabit Madagascar. Of interest to the primatologist is the section on long-tailed shrew tenrec (Microgale) and mouse lemurs (Microcebus). The number of species in both of these groups has increased substantially in the past few decades. The authors atribute this increase to "a notable increase in museum specimens from previously unsurveyed portions of the island, and to a better understanding of patterns of intra- and inter-population variation." They also credit the ability of molecular methods for uncovering cryptic species in these groups. In the tenrecs, they cite the example of the sympatry to two cryptic species, M. majori and M. longicaudata, which they claim are two species based on both molecular and morphological analyses. The mouse lemurs have quadrupled in species number in the past decade, and according to this paper, are the most specious of the Lemuriformes. This paper highlights the behavioral and morphological mechanisms (auditory and chemosensory) that support the biological (and mate recognition) species concepts that, when paired with the mtDNA data, support the species diversity of the mouse lemur.

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