Are cryptic species of the Lesser Egyptian Jerboa, Jaculus jaculus (Rodentia, Dipodidae), really cryptic? Re-evaluation of their taxonomic status with new data from Israel and Sinai

Georgy Shenbrot, Tamar Feldstein, Shai Meiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two clades of the lesser Egyptian jerboa Jaculus jaculus sensu lato were recently described in North Africa and considered as cryptic species. Members of both clades are also found in Israel, where they can be easily identified according to fur and tail colouration and morphology of the male external genitalia, but cannot be separated confidently using skull characters. Examination of type specimens demonstrated that the correct names for the two species are Jaculus jaculus (Linnaeus 1758) and Jaculus hirtipes (Lichtenstein, 1823). Comparisons of geographic and habitat differences of the two species revealed a high niche divergence between them, slightly higher in the sympatric North African populations than in the parapatric populations of Israel and Sinai. A low niche divergence was detected between North African and Middle Eastern populations of J. jaculus, and a low niche convergence between North African and Middle Eastern populations of J. hirtipes. The levels of niche differentiation coincide with those of genetic differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2016

Keywords

  • Ecological differentiation
  • Genetic differentiation
  • Geographic distribution
  • Nomenclature
  • Taxonomy

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