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Taxonomic status of the mardo, Antechinus flavipes leucogaster (Marsupialia : Dasyuridae): a morphological, molecular, reproductive and bioclimatic approach

Crowther, M.S., Spencer, P.B.S., Alpers, D. and Dickman, C.R. (2002) Taxonomic status of the mardo, Antechinus flavipes leucogaster (Marsupialia : Dasyuridae): a morphological, molecular, reproductive and bioclimatic approach. Australian Journal of Zoology, 50 (6). pp. 627-647.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/ZO02030
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Abstract

This paper uses a combined morphological, molecular and ecological approach to assess the taxonomic status of Antechinus flavipes leucogaster from Western Australia, and its relationship to A. flavipes flavipes from eastern Australia. Morphological analyses show that A. flavipes leucogaster is smaller and finer than its eastern Australian counterpart in both cranial and dental dimensions. Phylogenetic analyses of partial cytochrome-b sequences showed that A. flavipes flavipes and A. flavipes leucogaster form reciprocally monophyletic clades that have a relatively high level of divergence (approximately 6%). Analysis of the timing of reproduction indicates that the two subspecies show opposite responses to latitude, with A. flavipes leucogaster ovulating later at high latitudes and A. flavipes flavipes ovulating later in more northerly parts of its range. The combined data and the entirely allopatric distributions of the two subspecies confirm their distinctive status. Bioclimatic analysis suggests further that A. flavipes leucogaster occupies wetter but seasonally more variable environments than its eastern relative. It is clear from the level of morphological, molecular, reproductive and distributional differences that A. flavipes flavipes and A. flavipes leucogaster should be regarded as separate taxa for the purposes of conservation management, and their current subspecific status should be maintained.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/16696
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