Mammalian Biology

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 41–50 | Cite as

Contrasting genetic structure of urban and rural populations of the wild rodent Calomys musculinus (Cricetidae, Sigmodontinae)

  • Marina B. ChiapperoEmail author
  • Graciela M. Panzetta-Dutari
  • Daniela Gómez
  • Ernesto Castillo
  • Jaime J. Polop
  • Cristina N. Gardenal
Original Investigation


The alteration of landscapes by human activities worldwide has forced many animal species to persist in remnants of natural habitats. One of the best examples of this process occurs in central-east Argentina, where the original prairies were almost completely replaced by agricultural land, cattle production areas and increasing urbanization. We used nine microsatellite loci to analyze the population genetic structure of the Sigmodontine rodent Calomys musculinus in two anthropically altered habitats: an agroecosystem and a city. Rodents inhabiting urban vacant lots showed higher levels of relatedness and genetic differentiation than rodents inhabiting the agroecosystem. Urban rodents presented a pattern of isolation by distance; in the rural habitat this pattern was present only along the border of a secondary road, but not over the entire area surveyed. In the city, a spatially limited but buffered environment, populations would be small, demographically stable, and dispersal would be restricted. On the contrary, in agroecosystems populations would experience a high rate of turn over: local demes would originate each year by a mixture of overwintering individuals, and dispersal would occur preferentially along the weedy borders of fields.


Calomys musculinus Genetic structure Microsatellites Agroecosystems Urban populations 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina B. Chiappero
    • 1
    Email author
  • Graciela M. Panzetta-Dutari
    • 2
  • Daniela Gómez
    • 3
  • Ernesto Castillo
    • 3
  • Jaime J. Polop
    • 3
  • Cristina N. Gardenal
    • 1
  1. 1.Genética de Poblaciones y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica, Facultad de Ciencias QuímicasUniversidad Nacional de Córdoba, Haya de la Torre y Medina Allende, Ciudad UniversitariaCórdobaArgentina
  3. 3.Grupo de Investigaciones en Ecología de Poblaciones, Departamento de Ciencias NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Río CuartoRío CuartoArgentina

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