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A Taxonomic Evaluation of the Shrew Suncus montanus (Soricidae: Crocidurinae) of Sri Lanka and India

Authors:

Suyama Meegaskumbura ,

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, LK
About Suyama
Also Department of Biology, 5 Cummington Street, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
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Christopher J Schneider

Department of Biology, 5 Cummington Street, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA, US
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Abstract

The Sri Lankan and Indian populations of the mountain shrew Suncus montanus have hitherto been recognized as a single species, due to their similarity in size and colour. Here we present mitochondrial DNA sequence data from the cytochrome-b and 16S genes that suggest these populations represent distinct species. Phylogenetic analyses further reveal that the Sri Lankan and Indian populations are not sister taxa: S. montanus sensu stricto from Sri Lanka is the sister species of S. murinus, while ‘S. montanus' from India is the sister species of S. stoliczkanus. The uncorrected genetic distance for cytochrome-b between Sri Lankan and Indian ‘S. montanus' is ca. 7.5%, which is substantially higher than genetic distances within other species of shrews, or within vertebrate species in general, again supporting their recognition as distinct species. The name Suncus niger is available for the Indian shrew hitherto referred to S. montanus. Suncus montanus and S. niger should now be considered as endemic to Sri Lanka and India, respectively.

Key words: Phylogenetic relationships, mitochondrial genes, genetic distance, cytochrome-b, 16S

doi: 10.4038/cjsbs.v37i2.500

Cey. J. Sci. (Bio. Sci.) 37 (2): 129-136, 2008

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v37i2.500
How to Cite: Meegaskumbura, S. & Schneider, C.J., (2009). A Taxonomic Evaluation of the Shrew Suncus montanus (Soricidae: Crocidurinae) of Sri Lanka and India. Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences). 37(2), pp.129–136. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v37i2.500
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Published on 17 Jun 2009.
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