alexa Hidden Identities: Cryptic Species in the Otomys Genus (Cuvier 1824) (Rodentia: Muridae: Otomyinae) Revealed by Mitochondrial and Nuclear DNA in South Africa
ISSN: 2329-9002

Journal of Phylogenetics & Evolutionary Biology
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Research Article

Hidden Identities: Cryptic Species in the Otomys Genus (Cuvier 1824) (Rodentia: Muridae: Otomyinae) Revealed by Mitochondrial and Nuclear DNA in South Africa

Metlholo Andries Phukuntsi1,2, Teresa Kearney4,5, Helene Brettschneider1, Desiré Lee Dalton1,3*, Maria Oosthuizen6, Gerhard Goldner6, Jacqueline Badenhorst2 and Antoinette Kotze1,3

1National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, P.O. Box 754, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

2Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X360, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

3Department of Genetics, University of the Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa

4Vertebrate Department, Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, P.O Box 413, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

5Animal, Plant and Environmental Science Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa

6Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Desiré Lee Dalton
Department of Genetics
University of the Free State
P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein|
9300, South Africa
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: May 24, 2016; Accepted Date: July 05, 2016; Published Date: July 15, 2016

Citation: Phukuntsi MA, Kearney T, Brettschneider H, Dalton DL, Oosthuizen M, et al. (2016) Hidden Identities: Cryptic Species in the Otomys Genus (Cuvier 1824) (Rodentia: Muridae: Otomyinae) Revealed by Mitochondrial and Nuclear DNA in South Africa. J Phylogen Evolution Biol 4:168. doi:10.4172/2329-9002.1000168

Copyright: © 2016 Phukuntsi MA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



The recent taxonomy and phylogeny of Otomyinae has been in a state of flux as new systematic revisions combining molecular, karyotypic and morphometric information have identified changes at various taxonomic levels. Currently two genera of Otomyinae and eight species of Otomys are recognized in South Africa. However, the position of Otomys sloggetti on the phylogeny of Otomyinae has not been resolved, and since this species was not well represented in recent revisions it may also reveal multiple cryptic evolutionary species. In this study four mitochondrial and one nuclear gene regions and external morphological characters were analysed to elucidate relationships within O. sloggetti, as well as between O. sloggetti and other Otomys species occurring in South Africa. The data from this study suggested O. sloggetti belongs to neither the Otomys, nor the Parotomys genera. Instead, we propose returning to the classification of Otomyinae and recognize Myotomys as the valid genus for O. sloggetti. Within O. sloggetti, our data does not support the traditional view of the distribution and intraspecific variation of the species, and invites a new hypothesis. Specimens identified in the field as O. sloggetti were found to represent two different clades. One of the clades was genetically and morphologically consistent with the description for O. sloggetti, while the other was distinct from O. sloggetti and other Otomys species known to occur in South Africa. Our data suggests that this is a novel species within the Otomys genus.


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