Insularity and aridity as drivers of mandibular disparity in thylamys elegans (Waterhouse, 1839) from populations of the Atacama desert, Chile
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Simple Summary The following article studied the environment influence between island and mainland in an endemic marsupial from Chile the mouse-opossum Thylamys elegans (Waterhouse, 1839). Its important to understand that the isolated habitat could affect the pattern of morphological evolution in organism due to millions of years of being separated from the mainland. In this re-search we used two methodologies to study those effects in the mandible of this marsupial, first a biomechanical methodology which was used to correlate it with the diet, and a second called ge-ometric morphometrics which combine the geometry and biology to identify the principal changes in the morphology. Our results showed that Island populations have more disparity in the mor-phology in comparison to the mailand differences that could be related to the arid environment and other characteristic of the island. Concluding that one of the possible reason of the evolutionary history of this Chilean mouse-opossum was processes of natural selection by a process of coloniza-tion of island after vicariance denominated founder effect. Island ecosystems differ in several elements from mainland ecosystems and may induce variations related to natural selection and patterns of adaptation in most aspects of the biology of an organism. Thylamys elegans (Waterhouse, 1839) is a marsupial endemic to Chile, distributed from Loa River to Concepcion. Historically, three subspecies have been described: Thylamys elegans elegans, Thylamys elegans coquimbensis and Thylamys elegans soricinus. For this research, two morphometric approaches and a biomechanical model were used to compare the mandible shapes and biomechanics between two Chilean mouse opossum populations belonging to different subspecies: one from the coastal desert of Chile (T. e. coquimbensis) and the other from the central inland region (T. e. elegans). Additionally, mandibles of insular populations found in the Reserva Nacional Pinguino de Humboldt (RNPH)), from which the subspecies association is unknown, were also included. The results showed that insular populations have differences in mandibular shapes, sizes and biomechanical characteristics compared to continental populations, which may be related to environmental variables like aridity and vegetation cover, prey type, insularity effects and/or the founder effect on micromammals, apart from vicariance hypotheses and other selective pressures.
Artículo de publícación WoS
Quote ItemAnimals 2022, 12, 1179.
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