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Evolution of an invasive rodent on an archipelago as revealed by molar shape analysis : the house mouse in the Canary Islands.

Michaux, J. and Cucchi, T. and Renaud, S. and Garcia-Talavera, F. and Hutterer, R. (2007) 'Evolution of an invasive rodent on an archipelago as revealed by molar shape analysis : the house mouse in the Canary Islands.', Journal of biogeography., 34 (8). pp. 1412-1425.


Aim The aim of this paper is to identify the patterns in the morphological differentiation in the Canary Islands mice, based on fossil and modern samples. In order to achieve this identification, the mouse species present on the archipelago must first be compared to a set of continental mice. The differences between the continental and islands samples, and among the Canary Islands samples, provide insights into the processes of colonization and the subsequent insular evolution. Location Canary archipelago. Methods An outline analysis based on Fourier transform was used to quantify shape differences between lower molars. Together with the fossil and modern Canary Islands samples, a reference set of genotyped continental populations of the commensal Mus musculus Linnaeus, 1758 and the wild Mus spretus Lataste, 1883 was used for comparison. Results First, the morphometric analysis showed that all the mouse specimens from the Canary Islands and Cape Verde belonged to Mus musculus domesticus Schwarz & Schwarz, 1943. Lower molars of extant mice from La Gomera, El Hierro, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and at a lesser degree from Lanzarote were similar to those of genotyped M. m. domesticus from the continent, while teeth of extant mice from Fuerteventura were more divergent. Fossil mice from Fuerteventura were very similar to the extant representatives on this island, and similar to the fossil mice on the nearby islands of Lobos and La Graciosa. Main conclusions The mouse present on the Canary Archipelago has been identified as the house mouse Mus musculus domesticus. Based on the shape of the lower molar, the Canary Islands mice are divergent from the continental ones but the amount of difference varies with the geography of the archipelago. Overall populations from eastern islands are more divergent from the continental mice than populations from western ones. Fossil populations indicate that this situation was established several centuries ago. Many factors may have played a role in establishing this pattern: different types of environment appeared in the islands overt time since the successful settlement of the mouse, and/or the number of subsequent introductions of continental individuals via shipping.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:
Keywords:Anthropization, Colonization, Fourier transform, Geometric morphometry, Human migration, Insular syndrome, Island biogeography, Late Holocene, Mus musculus domesticus, Zooarchaeology.
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Record Created:06 Apr 2009
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:32

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