Morphological and biometrical comparisons of the baculum in the genus Nannospalax Palmer, 1903 (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Turkey with consideration of its taxonomic importance


Abstract: The morphological variability of the baculum (os penis) of 147 adult specimens of species in the genus Nannospalax from 58 localities in Turkey was examined using morphological and numerical taxonomic methods. Significant differences among all of the Turkish species in the genus were determined by morphological and biometrical comparison of the bacula, and the results of this study showed that N. nehringi and N. xanthodon are separate species and that the names are not synonyms. Additionally, because the central Anatolian mole rat populations that were classified by previous studies as members of N. nehringi or N. xanthodon had highly different baculum morphologies, these populations were classified as a different species (N. labaumei) in this study. When compared to the other populations, the central Anatolian populations, which have greater diploid chromosomal sets (2n = 56, 58, 60), had very different baculum morphologies. Whereas individuals of the species N. labaumei had the smallest bacula, the largest baculum occurred in a representative of the species N. leucodon. From this study, the results indicate that 5 different blind mole rat species (N. ehrenbergi, N. leucodon, N. nehringi, N. xanthodon, and N. labaumei) live in Turkey, and in addition to these species, some of the chromosomal races (2n = 36, 40, 52) should be treated as distinct species.

Keywords: Nannospalax, baculum, morphometry, Turkey

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