Research Article

 DNA-based and geometric morphometric analysis to validate species designation: a case study of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys bicolor

Published: October 25, 2013
Genet. Mol. Res. 12 (4) : 5023-5037 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4238/2013.October.25.1
Cite this Article:
(2013).  DNA-based and geometric morphometric analysis to validate species designation: a case study of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys bicolor. Genet. Mol. Res. 12(4): gmr2553. https://doi.org/10.4238/2013.October.25.1
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Abstract

The genus Ctenomys (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae) shows several taxonomic inconsistencies. In this study, we used an integrative approach including DNA sequences, karyotypes, and geometric morphometrics to evaluate the taxonomic validity of a nominal species, Ctenomys bicolor, which was described based on only one specimen in 1912 by Miranda Ribeiro, and since then neglected. We sampled near the type locality assigned to this species and collected 10 specimens. A total of 820 base pairs of the cytochrome b gene were sequenced and analyzed together with nine other species and four morphotypes obtained from GenBank. Bayesian analyses showed that C. bicolor is monophyletic and related to the Bolivian-Matogrossense group, a clade that originated about 3 mya. We compared the cranial shape through morphometric geometrics of C. bicolor, including the specimen originally sampled in 1912, with other species representative of the same phylogenetic group (C. boliviensis and C. steinbachi). C. bicolor shows unique skull traits that distinguish it from all other currently known taxa. Our findings confirm that the specimen collected by Miranda Ribeiro is a valid species, and improve the knowledge about Ctenomys in the Amazon region.

The genus Ctenomys (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae) shows several taxonomic inconsistencies. In this study, we used an integrative approach including DNA sequences, karyotypes, and geometric morphometrics to evaluate the taxonomic validity of a nominal species, Ctenomys bicolor, which was described based on only one specimen in 1912 by Miranda Ribeiro, and since then neglected. We sampled near the type locality assigned to this species and collected 10 specimens. A total of 820 base pairs of the cytochrome b gene were sequenced and analyzed together with nine other species and four morphotypes obtained from GenBank. Bayesian analyses showed that C. bicolor is monophyletic and related to the Bolivian-Matogrossense group, a clade that originated about 3 mya. We compared the cranial shape through morphometric geometrics of C. bicolor, including the specimen originally sampled in 1912, with other species representative of the same phylogenetic group (C. boliviensis and C. steinbachi). C. bicolor shows unique skull traits that distinguish it from all other currently known taxa. Our findings confirm that the specimen collected by Miranda Ribeiro is a valid species, and improve the knowledge about Ctenomys in the Amazon region.