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Department of Life Sciences Seminar

 

A new genus of rodent from Wallacea (Rodentia: Muridae: Murinae: Rattini) and its implication for biogeography and Indo-Pacific Rattini systematics

 

Pierre-Henri Fabre

Synthesys visitor, University of Montpellier

 

Friday 12th April 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


We describe Halmaheramys bokimekot Fabre et al. a new genus and new species of murine rodent from the North Moluccas and study its phylogenetic placement using both molecular and morphological data. We generated a taxonomically densely sampled mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data set that included almost all genera of Indo-Pacific Murinae. We then used probabilistic methodologies to infer their phylogenetic relationships. To reconstruct their biogeographical history, we first dated the topology and then used a LAGRANGE analysis to infer ancestral geographic areas. Finally, we combined the ancestral area reconstructions with temporal information to compare patterns of murine colonization among Indo-Pacific archipelagos. We provide a new comprehensive molecular phylogenetic reconstruction for the Indo-Pacific Murinae with a focus on the Rattus division. Based on previous results and those presented in this study, we define a new Indo-Pacific group within the Rattus division: comprised of Bullimus, Bunomys, Paruromys, Halmaheramys, Sundamys, and Taeromys. Our phylogenetic reconstruction reveals a relatively recent diversification from the Middle-Miocene to Plio-Pleistocene associated with several major dispersal events. We identified two independent Indo-Pacific origins from both Western and Eastern Indo-Pacific archipelagoes to the isolated Halmahera island that led to the speciations of Halmaheramys bokimekot and Rattus morotaiensis. We propose that Middle Miocene collision between the Halmahera and Sangihe arcs may have been responsible for the arrival from the Eastern Wallacea of the Halmaheramys ancestors. Halmaheramys bokimekot Fabre et al. sp. nov., is described in detail and its systematics and biogeography documented and illustrated.

 

 

 

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