New findings on the origin of Cavia intermedia, one of the world's rarest mammals


  • Editor: KH

Correspondence author.


Cavia intermedia, a rare species of cavy found exclusively on Moleques do Sul Island, Brazil, differs from other cavies in genetic and morphological characteristics and has been regarded as phylogenetically closest to Cavia magna. Here, I present morphological evidence for the likely origin of Cavia intermedia from an ancestor shared with Cavia magna: an external female genital organ similar in size and appearance to the male's penis. Masculinization of the female genitalia has been observed in Cavia magna but does not occur in Cavia aperea, which suggests a sister relationship between Cavia magna and Cavia intermedia.