Cranial phenotypic variation in Meriones crassus and M. libycus (Rodentia, Gerbillinae), and a morphological divergence in M. crassus from the Iranian Plateau and Mesopotamia (Western Zagros Mountains)

  • Jirds (genus Meriones) are a diverse group of rodents, with a wide distribution range in Iran. Sundevall’s jird (Meriones crassus Sundevall, 1842) is one such species that shows a disjunct distribution, found on the Iranian Plateau and Western Zagros Mountains. Morphological differences observed between these two populations, however, lack quantitative support. Morphological differences between geographical populations of Meriones crassus were analysed and compared with those of the sympatric M. libycus. Similarities in the cranial morphology of these species were found, e.g. in a relatively large and inflated bulla. A two-dimensional geometric morphometric analysis was done on the skull of 275 M. crassus and 220 M. libycus from more than 70 different localities in their distribution range. Results confirm cranial differences between specimens of M. crassus from the Western Zagros and those from Africa and Arabia, mainly at the level of the relative size of the tympanic bulla, that were significantly correlated with the annual rainfall and elevation. Moreover, the study supports the hypothesis that the Western Zagros specimens are both a geographically and phenotypically distinct group compared to the other Iranian M. crassus specimens, suggesting that the former might be a distinct species.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Author:Fatemeh Tabatabaei Yazdi, Dominique Adriaens, Jamshid Darvish
Parent Title (English):European journal of taxonomy : 88
Series (Serial Number):European journal of taxonomy : EJT (88)
Publisher:Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Place of publication:Paris
Document Type:Part of Periodical
Year of Completion:2014
Year of first Publication:2014
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/06/28
Tag:Middle East; Muridae; geometric morphometrics; morphology; skull shape
Page Number:28
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0