Golenishchev F.N., Malikov V.G., Bannikova A.A., Zykov A.E., Yiğit N., Çolak E. 2022. Diversity of snow voles of the “nivalis” group (Chionomys, Arvicolinae, Rodentia) in the eastern part of the range with description of a new species // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.21. No.1. P.1–12 [in English].

Fedor N. Golenishchev [f_gol@mail.ru], Zoological Institute RAS, Universitetskaya nab. 1, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia; Vladimir G. Malikov [malikovzin@mail.ru], Zoological Institute RAS, Universitetskaya nab. 1, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia; Anna A. Bannikova [hylomys@mail.ru], Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vorobievy Gory, Moscow 119992, Russia; Alexandr E. Zykov [alex.e.zykov@gmail.com], Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine; Nuri Yiğit [nuri.yigit@science.ankara.edu.tr], Biology Department, Faculty of Science. Ankara University. 06100 Beşevler, Ankara, Turkey; Ercument Çolak [colak@science.ankara.edu.tr], Biology Department, Faculty of Science, Ankara University, 06100 Beşevler, Ankara, Turkey.

doi: 10.15298/ rusjtheriol.21.1.01

ABSTRACT. The genus Chionomys includes two supraspecific groups: “nivalis” and “gud-roberti”. For a long time, it has been thought that the nivalis group includes only C. nivalis. Here, molecular phylogenetic analysis of nine specimens from Turkey, Armenia, and Iran was performed using the Cytb gene and two nuclear genes: BRCA1 and GHR. In the results on Cytb, two specimens from central Taurus Mountains (Turkey), morphologically similar to C. nivalis, stood apart from all studied C. nivalis geographic forms at the species level (9–12%). Meanwhile, 38 km southwest from our collection site, there is known C. nivalis of the Caucasian–Asia Minor molecular-genetic clade. Hence, the form from central Taurus and common Asia Minor C. nivalis seem sympatric. Therefore, they are most likely genetically isolated from each other as separate species. A morphometric comparison of the Taurus specimens and C. nivalis from the eastern part of the geographic range was carried out by principal component analysis of 12 craniometric characteristics. In some craniometric characteristics, the type specimens of the new species are clearly larger than all subspecies of C. nivalis from the eastern part of the range, except C. n. layi. That is why we consider those two central-Taurus specimens a holotype and paratype of a new cryptic species: C. stekolnikovi sp. nov. In addition to the morphological diagnosis, we used data on amino acid substitutions in Cytb and nucleotide substitutions in BRCA1 and GHR.

KEY WORDS: Chionomys, new species, cytochrome b, BRCA1, GHR, phylogenetics, morphology.

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