Molecular systematics of the Peromyscus boylii species group



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Texas Tech University


A species group is defined as an assemblage of species that are closely related and form a biological unit with a single monophyletic origin (Hooper, 1968). Taxonomically, the use of the term 'species group' reduces the need to use a higher category. For example, the species group concept is applied to taxa which exhibit sufficient differentiation to be recognized as species but possess inadequate variation to be recognized as subgenera. The term 'group' also can be applied to subspecific differentiation and in rarer cases it is used for aggregates of genera or higher categories (Mayr and Ashlock, 1991). Species groups have proven to be convenient when subdividing well-defined genera that contain a large number of species. More specifically, the use of species groups have enabled systematists to consolidate polytypic species into nominal species, which in turn could be grouped into an even larger array such as the species group (Carleton, 1989). This has been the case for the genus Peromyscus (Rodentia: Cricetidae), which is divided into the subgenera Peromyscus and Haplomylomys(Carleton, 1989). These subgenera are subdivided further into thirteen species groups (Carleton, 1989). Among these, the Peromyscus boylii species group is the most systematically complex in terms of defining the phylogenetic relationships among members and delimiting the number of biological species.



Brush mouse, Peromyscus