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Discrimination between Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis and Peromyscus maniculatus nubiterrae in the field

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Syntopic Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis (Fischer, 1829) and P. maniculatus nubiterrae (Rhoads, 1896) exhibit considerable overlap in external morphologies in the Appalachian mountains of the Eastern United States, making field identification of live individuals questionable in some instances. We compared two techniques for correctly identifying these live individuals in the field: the tail:body ratio and weight criterion, and discriminant function analysis of external morphological characters. Electrophoresis of salivary amylase was used to confirm species identity. The tail:body ratio and weight criterion was a poor character combination for discriminating between species, with 36% of new (unmarked) individuals misclassified. Models generated from discriminant function analysis resulted in up to 92% correct classification to species of live individuals. For any individual Peromyscus (Gloger, 1841) captured, four quantitative characters (tail length, body length, ear length, and weight) were the most useful in discrimination between species. While classification equations provided improved species identification, they still resulted in a high degree of error. Only electrophoresis of salivary amylase provided unambiguous species identification in the field, and we recommend the use of this technique.
Opis fizyczny
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