Zoological Studies

Vol. 56, 2017

(update: 2017.2.26)

The Phylogeography of Red Spiny Rats Maxomys surifer (Rodentia, Muridae) in Indochina with Comments on Taxonomy and Description of New Subspecies

Alexander Evgenievich Balakirev1,2,*, Alexei V. Abramov1,3, and Viatcheslav Vladimirovich Rozhnov1,2

1Joint Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technological Centre, Nguyen Van Huyen, Nghia Do, Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam
2A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow 119071, Russia. E-mail: rozhnov.v@gmail.com
3Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab. 1, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia. E-mail: a.abramov@mail.ru

(Received 8 December 2016; Accepted 26 February 2017; Communicated by Jian-Nan Liu)

Alexander Evgenievich Balakirev, Alexei V. Abramov, and Viatcheslav Vladimirovich Rozhnov (2017) The phylogeographic pattern of Maxomys surifer across most of its geographic range was investigated based on existing sequencing from GenBank and new original data from Vietnam to evaluate its natural subdivision and taxonomic structure in Indochina and neighboring regions. Seven major phylogenetic clusters/groups are apparent on the cytochrome b (Cyt b)andcytochrome с oxydase subunit 1 gene (COI) trees, corresponding to geographical subpopulations of the species. Among them, distinct position of most divergent, clade Msur7 is also supported by analyses of nuclear (IRBP) gene. The taxonomic implication of these findings is tested by comparison of morphological features of this Northern (labeled by Msur7) and Southern Vietnamese populations widely distributed over the Indochina labeled by Msur3 mtDNA genetic marker. Direct comparisons of skulls measurements and multivariate analyses performed for these southern and northern populations showed that latter specimens are distinctive in being significantly larger in a number of cranial characters, with diagnostically smaller teeth relative to M. surifer from southern Vietnam, bearing also some traits in its external appearance, like relative tail length and coloration pattern. The pattern of genetic and cranial variation in M. surifer revealed in the present study suggests the existence of distinct genetic lineages and suspected longitudinal isolation, corresponding to morphologically distinctive forms. It is evident that at least some of these lineages merit subspecific status. We provide a taxonomical description elevating the northern Vietnamese populations to a new subspecies M. s. tonkinensis subsp. nov. We discuss the taxonomic implications, tentative range, and appropriate synonyms for all main genetic lineages over the range of M. surifer in the Sundaic region.

Key words: Mammals, rodents, Southeast Asia, taxonomy, biodiversity

Correspondence: Tel: +84 0946059487. E-mail: alexbalakirev@mail.ru