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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 160–167 | Cite as

Testing and quantification of cranial shape and size variation within Meriones hurrianae (Rodentia: Gerbillinae): A geometric morphometric approach

  • Fatemeh Tabatabaei YazdiEmail author
Original investigation

Abstract

The Indian Jird, Meriones hurrianae, is unusual among the family Gerbillidae in not being from desert or sub-desert habitats, and in its ability to endure cold weather. Therefore, the distribution range of the Indian jird has no overlap with other species of Meriones. The habitat of the Indian jird is increasingly fragmented, so that this species is increasingly under threat. The ecology of this species, as well as its morphology, is poorly known. The present study, using a two-dimensional landmark-based geometric morphometric approach, aims to investigate intraspecific variation in skull shape and size of populations of this species. For this purpose, more than 50 skull specimens coming from different localities along the distribution range of this species were analyzed. The results allow us to reject the hypothesis that there would be no significant difference in skull shape and size. For instance, some specimens, such as those from Bandar Abbas (Iran), show significant shape differences compared with others. Differences were also significant for some size characteristics, e.g. cranium size and length, as well as the size of the auditory bulla. The observed morphological variation is discussed in the context of taxonomy and conservation of the Indian Jirds.

Keywords

Jird Mammals Morpholometrics Muridae Taxonomy 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde, e. V. DGS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Natural Resources and EnvironmentFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran

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