Peromyscus eva and Peromyscus fraterculus are 2 morphologically similar species of the Peromyscus eremicus group occurring on the Baja California Peninsula. Due to the similarity between these 2 species, their ranges have been greatly confused; consequently, the specific habitat characteristics for each group are not well known. The goal of this study was to assess distribution ranges and characteristics of preferred habitats for P. eva and P. fraterculus in more detail. We identified taxonomy of individuals by evaluating genetic patterns produced by restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). We evaluated the banding pattern generated by Alu I and Bam HI restriction enzymes in an 850-bp cytochrome b fragment. Consistent differences in number and size of fragments allowed for discrimination of individuals to species. The heterogeneity and evenness indexes showed that the microhabitat of P. fraterculus contained less-diverse soil types and is more homogeneous than the microhabitat of P. eva. In the state of Baja California Sur, P. eva occurs exclusively in the flat areas along the Pacific coast from the Vizcaino Desert to the south, including Margarita Island, with one small population in the Loreto area adjacent to Carmen Island. The habitats occupied by P. eva were heterogeneous (areas with friable, soft sandy soil and a low percentage of small stones). Peromyscus fraterculus occurs mostly in Baja California Norte, with some populations distributed in Baja California Sur, particularly in the western areas of the Vizcaino Desert along the mountain range, in the gulf side of the peninsula south of the city of La Paz, and in a small area on the eastern side of Sierra de Las Cruces. This species was mostly found on hard soil with high medium-size stone content.
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Vol. 70 • No. 3