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Taxonomic identity of Microtus qazvinensis Golenishchev et al. 2003 (Rodentia, Arvicolinae) from the northwest of Iran

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The Qazvin vole Microtus qazvinensis, an endemic species of Iran, shows an obvious similarity in both morphological and karyological traits to other members of the “guentheri” species group. Such similarities challenge the species status of this taxon. In this study, the relationships of social voles, and in particular M. qazvinensis, were reevaluated based on phylogeny of the mitochondrial gene for cytochrome b and morphological, karyological, and morphometric data. The Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood trees showed the same topology. The genetic distance between the sister species M. qazvinensis (Iran) and Microtus dogramacii (Turkey) was 2.8 %, which is comparable to other sister taxa pairs within Microtus. We confirmed that M. qazvinensis, while having a close relationship to M. dogramacii on molecular trees, shows differences to other species from the guentheri group. As a result, our data support the taxonomic position of M. qazvinensis as a valid species, found in a separate geographical region, within the guentheri group.
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  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
  • Rodentology Research Department, Institute of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
  • Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
  • Zoological Innovations Research Department, Institute of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Sciences, Fedrowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
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