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1 April 2011 Comparison of Morphological Versus Molecular Characters for Discriminating Between Sympatric Meadow and Prairie Voles
Andrew C. Henterly, Karen E. Mabry, Nancy G. Solomon, Adrian S. Chesh, Brian Keane
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Abstract

Prairie (Microtus ochrogaster) and meadow (M. pennsylvanicus) voles are morphologically very similar species of rodents that are often found sympatrically. To assess the reliability of morphological characters typically used to differentiate between these two species, we compared the concordance of species identification based on morphological characteristics with identifications based on a species-specific difference within the avpr1a gene. We found that intraspecific variation in morphological characteristics resulted in erroneous or ambiguous species identification in the field (generally ≤5%) as well as for preserved specimens (up to ∼45%). Our data suggests that genotyping putative M. ochrogaster and M. pennsylvanicus at their avpr1a locus may be warranted for some individuals to ensure accurate species identification.

Andrew C. Henterly, Karen E. Mabry, Nancy G. Solomon, Adrian S. Chesh, and Brian Keane "Comparison of Morphological Versus Molecular Characters for Discriminating Between Sympatric Meadow and Prairie Voles," The American Midland Naturalist 165(2), 412-420, (1 April 2011). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031-165.2.412
Received: 7 January 2010; Accepted: 1 September 2010; Published: 1 April 2011
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