Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

An enigmatic pygmy dormouse: molecular and morphological evidence for the species taxonomic status of Typhlomys chapensis (Rodentia: Platacanthomyidae)

Alexei V Abramov1,3*, Alexander E Balakirev2,3 and Viatcheslav V Rozhnov2,3

1Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab. 1, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia
2A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow 119071, Russia
3Joint Vietnam-Russian Tropical Research and Technological Centre, Nguyen Van Huyen, Nghia Do, Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam

Background: The taxonomic position of enigmatic pygmy dormouse Typhlomys (Rodentia: Platacanthomyidae) from Vietnam is reconsidered based on both morphology and sequence data.
The analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear genes has shown that the pygmy dormouse from Lao Cai Province of northern Vietnam belongs to a distinct phylogenetic lineage of Typhlomys. The DNA analysis has demonstrated a strong genetic difference (0.245 to 0.252 for the cytochrome oxidase gene (COI), 0.079 to 0.082 for interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein gene (IRBP), and 0.028 for the growth hormone receptor gene (GHR) between this lineage and the sample from South China. Multivariate analysis of cranial and dental data, as well as of some external characters, has also separated the Vietnamese population from the pygmy dormouse from Fujianin southern China, the type locality of Typhlomys cinereus (Bull Soc Philomath Paris 12:8–10, 1877).
Conclusions: Both genetic and morphological data confirm that there is a second species, Typhlomys chapensis (Field Mus Nat Hist Zool Ser 18:193–339, 1932), in the heretofore monotypic genus Typhlomys.

Key words: Mitochondrial DNA; Nuclear DNA; Morphology; Systematics; Typhlomys chapensis.

*Correspondence: E-mail: a.abramov@mail.ru