, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 1579-1585
Date: 29 Jul 2009

Delineating geographic boundaries of the woolly mouse opossums, Micoureus demerarae and Micoureus paraguayanus (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae)

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Abstract

This paper reports on molecular classification of the woolly mouse opossum, Micoureus spp., in the southeastern Atlantic Forest in Brazil, a hotspot of critically threatened biodiversity. Phylogenetic analysis and character-based diagnosis were done using DNA sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I genes, and exon 6 of the nuclear dentine matrix protein 1 gene (DMP1). Although the nuclear DMP1 gene showed insufficient genetic variation for species diagnosis, the mtDNA analyses resulted in the robust grouping of samples of the M. paraguayanus/M. demerarae complex into three clades with distinct DNA sequence diagnostics for the species units in this study. The results support the species status of M. paraguayanus (Tate in Am Mus Novit 493: 1–13, 1931), which has a geographic distribution in the Atlantic Forest from the North and Northeast of Minas Gerais state in Brazil, going south along the coastal region of Brazil, to Paraguay and Argentina. Evidence of the boundary for this species and the provided diagnostics should facilitate and improve accuracy of studies that have been done in critical threatened fragments of the Atlantic Forest, especially in Minas Gerais and Bahia states, Brazil.