Zoological Studies

Vol. 54, 2015

A new species of fish-eating rat, genus Neusticomys (Sigmodontinae), from Ecuador

J Delton Hanson1*, Guillermo D’Elía2, Sheri B Ayers3, Stephen B Cox1, Santiago F Burneo4 and Thomas E Lee Jr5

1RTLGenomics, 4321 Marsha Sharp Fwy Door 2, Lubbock, TX 79407, USA
2Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales y Evolutivas, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
3True Health Diagnostics, Frisco, TX, USA
4Museo de Zoología Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
5Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX, USA

Background: In this study, the genetic substructure and morphology of the species Neusticomys monticolus was evaluated. A nuclear marker and mitochondrial maker were used to examine phylogeographic structure and to estimate genetic distances. Two statistical measurement analyses were applied to morphological data.
These data recovered two morphologically distinct phylogeographic groups corresponding to populations on the eastern and western slopes of the Andes. Further, these eastern and western Andean slope populations of N. monticolus are 8.5 % divergent using sequence data from cytochrome-b (0.8 % divergent in the interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein gene).
Conclusions: Populations currently assigned to N. monticolus constitute a species complex. The name N. monticolus is here restricted to western Andean slope populations. Populations on the eastern slope of the Andes are assigned to a new species, to which the authors assign the name Neusticomys vossi sp. nov.

Key words: Andes, Cricetidae; Ecuador; Ichthyomyini; Muroidea; Neusticomys monticolus; Neusticomys vossi sp. nov.

*Correspondence: E-mail: j.delton.hanson@gmail.com