Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

Geographic variation of the large-eared field mouse (Apodemus latronum Thomas, 1911) (Rodentia: Muridae) with one new subspecies description verified via cranial morphometric variables and pelage characteristics

Song Li1,2* and Shao-Ying Liu3

1aKunming Natural History Museum of Zoology, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China
2State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China
3Sichuan Academy of Forestry, Chengdu, Sichuan 610066, China

Background: The large-eared field mouse (Apodemus latronum Thomas, 1911), a common rodent, mainly inhabits southwestern China. Since its first description nearly a century ago, there have been numerous taxonomical and morphological arguments as to its validity, but relatively little work was done on mapping out the geographic variations observed in samples of the species. In this study, we used 142 specimens of A. latronum from Xizang, Sichuan, and Yunnan to conduct a multivariate analysis, coefficient of difference (CD) analysis of cranial measurements, and a comparison of some pelage characteristics.
The results of the analysis on 15 measurable cranial characters indicated that the specimens from Lijiang, Weixi, and Binchuan areas of the Yunnan province are apparently different from all the other specimens of A. latronum described so far and are allopatrically distributed.
Conclusions: These samples form the core of our new description for A. latronum lijiangensis subsp. nov. as a new subspecies, and a detailed discussion on the relationships between the differentiation of A. latronum and its evolvement in southwestern China is provided.

Key words: New subspecies; Geographic variation; Statistic analysis; Apodemus latronum; Morphometry.

*Correspondence: E-mail: lis@mail.kiz.ac.cn