Phylogeographical structure and regional history of the dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes

Authors

  • Marjorie D. Matocq

    Corresponding author
    1. Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720–3160, USA
      Marjorie D. Matocq. *Present address: National Zoological Park, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington DC 20008, USA. Fax: 202-673-4648; E-mail: matocqm@nzp.si.edu
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Marjorie D. Matocq. *Present address: National Zoological Park, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington DC 20008, USA. Fax: 202-673-4648; E-mail: matocqm@nzp.si.edu

Abstract

The dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes, is a medium-sized rodent that inhabits low elevation woodland habitats along the Pacific coast of North America from Oregon, throughout California and into Baja California. Analyses of mitochondrial sequence variation throughout the distribution reveal substantial phylogeographical structure within N. fuscipes. The major mitochondrial lineages are largely concordant with previously identified morphological subdivisions within the taxon. The geographical distribution of distinct clades suggests that a combination of topographic barriers and the expansion and contraction of suitable habitat during the past 2 million years, especially along particular mountain ranges, have played a major role in the diversification of N. fuscipes. Furthermore, relatively low levels of genetic variation across the northern half of the distribution suggest that dusky-footed woodrats may have only recently expanded into this region.

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