Zoological Studies

Vol. 56, 2017

(update: 2017.9.22; 10.02)

Geographic Variation in Cranial Morphology of the Southern Mountain Cavy, Microcavia australis (Rodentia, Caviidae): Taxonomic Implications, with the Description of A New Species

Pablo Teta1,*, Ricardo A. Ojeda2, Sergio O. Lucero1, and Guillermo D’Elía3

1División Mastozoología, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Avenida Ángel Gallardo 470, C1405DJR Buenos Aires, Argentina
2IADIZA CONICET - GiB, Grupo de investigaciones de la biodiversidad; CRICYT, Parque San Martín, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina
3Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile

(Received 7 April 2017; Accepted 13 September 2017; Communicated by Jian-Nan Liu)

Pablo Teta, Ricardo A. Ojeda, Sergio O. Lucero,and Guillermo D’Elía (2017) We analyzed the geographic variation in cranial morphology of the Southern Mountain Cavy, Microcavia australis, throughout of its distributional range. Our analysis allows us to recognize three geographically allopatric morphotypes. These morphotypes differ in the general size and shape of the skull and discrete morphological traits of the zygomatic arch, palate and mesopterygoid fossa. Based on these results, we restrict the name australis to populations distributed in southern Argentina and west-central Andes and the name maenas to the morphotype of northwestern and central Argentina. The third morphotype occurs in the Dry Chaco ecoregion and is described here as a new species.

Key words: Caviomorpha, Cavioidea, Cranial variation, Qualitative morphology, Quantitative morphology.

*Correspondence: E-mail: antheca@yahoo.com.ar