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1 December 2005 Origin and evolution of Western European moles (genus Talpa, Insectivora): a multidisciplinary approach
Anna Loy, Paolo Colangelo, Flavia Annesi, Ernesto Capanna
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The European representatives of the subfamily Talpinae belong to the monophyletic genus Talpa. Five out of the nine species of Talpa occur in Western Europe. A wide central area is occupied by Talpa europaea, while the small sized Talpa caeca occurs in southern Europe. Three endemic species are restricted to the peripheral areas of the genus range and show a parapatric distribution with respect to T. europaea, i.e. the Iberian T. occidentalis, the southern Italian T. romana and the Balkan T. stankovici. The karyotypes of moles are very conservative, with the majority of the species showing 2n = 34. Allozyme data first allowed to assess the specific status of endemic taxa and the low levels of heterozygosity. Nei's genetic distances suggest that T. occidentalis, T. romana and T. stankovici early diverged from an europaeacaeca line. Preliminary results from mtDNA analyses strongly support the monophyly of Western European moles, but are still not able to solve the relationships within this clade. Estimates of time of divergences indicate a basal split of an Eastern and a Western lineage during the Miocene-Pliocene transition, while the divergence among the Western European moles should have occurred in association to the Pliocene-Pleistocene climatic oscillations.

Anna Loy, Paolo Colangelo, Flavia Annesi, and Ernesto Capanna "Origin and evolution of Western European moles (genus Talpa, Insectivora): a multidisciplinary approach," Mammal Study 30(sp1), (1 December 2005).[S13:OAEOWE]2.0.CO;2
Received: 29 November 2005; Accepted: 27 January 2006; Published: 1 December 2005
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