Biosystematics of three-toed Jerboas, Genus Jaculus (Erxleben, 1777) from Iran (Dipodidae, Rodentia)

Document Type : Research articles


Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


The genus Jaculusis distributed in Palearctic desert and semi-desert areas, extending from Central Asia to the Western Sahara in the North Africa. In Iran three species of threetoed Jerboa have been reported: Jaculus jaculus from the south west and west of Iran, Jaculus blanfordi from the northeast, east and central part of Iran and Jaculus thaleri from the east of Iran. In present study, the phylogenetic and taxonomic relationships in the genus Jaculus from Iran were examined using molecular, geometric morphometric and morphologic data. Our molecular analyses indicated two monophyletic clades which contain J. jaculus and J. blanfordi. There is a high amount of genetic interspecific distance (12.7%) between J. jaculus and J.blanfordi, while the intraspecific divergence within these two species is low. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) of morphometric variables were significant (P
<0.05) and shows that J. jaculus is significantly smaller than J. blanfordi. Statistical Analysis on outline data shows that there is an intraspecific geographic variation in 2nd lower molar shape in J.blanfordi so that northern populations are determinable from the south ones (Pvalue= 0.016). Although the findings strengthen an idea of presence of two subspecies in northeast and southeast of Iran, it would require further studies. In this study, expansion of J. jaculus to the center of Iran, suggests that it is sympatric with J. blanfordi in Esfahan province. >


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