Zapus hudsonius preblei, listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), is one of 12 recognized subspecies of meadow jumping mice found in North America. Recent morphometric and phylogenetic comparisons among Z. h. preblei and neighbouring conspecifics questioned the taxonomic status of selected subspecies, resulting in a proposal to delist the Z. h. preblei from the ESA. We present additional analyses of the phylogeographic structure within Z. hudsonius that calls into question previously published data (and conclusions) and confirms the original taxonomic designations. A survey of 21 microsatellite DNA loci and 1380 base pairs from two mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) regions (control region and cytochrome b) revealed that each Z. hudsonius subspecies is genetically distinct. These data do not support the null hypothesis of a homogeneous gene pool among the five subspecies found within the southwestern portion of the species' range. The magnitude of the observed differentiation was considerable and supported by significant findings for nearly every statistical comparison made, regardless of the genome or the taxa under consideration. Structuring of nuclear multilocus genotypes and subspecies-specific mtDNA haplotypes corresponded directly with the disjunct distributions of the subspecies investigated. Given the level of correspondence between the observed genetic population structure and previously proposed taxonomic classification of subspecies (based on the geographic separation and surveys of morphological variation), we conclude that the nominal subspecies surveyed in this study do not warrant synonymy, as has been proposed for Z. h. preblei, Z. h. campestris, and Z. h. intermedius.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics