A Landmark-Based Morphometrics Approach to the Systematics of Crocidurinae

A Case Study on Endemic Shrews Crocidura sicula and C. canariensis (Soricidae, Mammalia)
  • Maurizio Sarà
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 284)


The phenetic relationships between two endemic taxa of Crocidurinae, Crocidura sicula and C. canariensis, having the same karyotype and very low Nei’s genetic distance were studied by geometric morphometrics. Fifteen landmarks were recorded in three populations of C. sicula (Sicily and Egadi) and one of C. canariensis (Canary) to test the hypothesis, based on distance-based multivariate analyses, of low phenetic difference between the shrews in Western Sicily and surrounding islands (Egadis) and those in the Canary islands. The Generalized Least Squares (GLS) superimposition method was used to align the samples for further use in Thin Plate Spline Relative Warps Analysis (TPSRW, α = 0). Canonical variate analysis of the resulting weight matrix and UPGMA clustering of Mahalanobis distances were run to achieve an ordination of the four populations. The analyses showed that shape changes are restricted to some regions of the mandible related to chewing. These differences can be better explained as a result of individual within-population and intraspecific variation. The results of the geometric morphometric analysis substantiated the strict phenetic relationships between the Canary and Sicilian shrews, being congruent with the distance-based analyses. These populations are two peripheral isolates that stem from a Maghrebi ancestor during the Plio-Pleistocene. It is suggested that taxonomically, C. canariensis be recognized as a subspecies of C. sicula.


Canary Island Mahalanobis Distance Generalize Little Square Condylar Process Canonical Variate Analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurizio Sarà
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Zoology of Palermo UniversityPalermoItaly

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