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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2004

Authors: Suchentrunk, F

Title: Phylogenetic relationships between Indian and Burmese hares (Lepus nigricollis and L. peguensis) inferred from epigenetic dental characters.

Source: Mammalian Biology (69) 28-45.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Suchentrunk Franz

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

Systematic relationships among several forms of hares from South and Southeast Asia currently included in the Indian hare, Lepus nigricollis, and the Burmese hare, L. peguensis, are not well understood. In this study, 29 epigenetic occlusal characters (enamel fold patterns) were analyzed quantitatively to infer phylogenetic relationships among the following operational taxonomic units (OTU): L. n. nigricollis (n = 29), L. n. singhala (n = 9), L. n. simcoxi (n = 18), L. n. mahadeva (n = 7), L. n. dayanus (n = 29), L. n. ruficaudatus (n = 52), and L. peguensis (L. p. peguensis, L. p. siamensis, L. p. vassali, combined n = 25). Pairwise epigenetic distances (C. A. B. SMITH'S MMD) among OTUs were calculated from OTU-specific frequencies of character states. All cluster analyses performed on the distance matrices revealed close relationships among the OTUs of L. nigricollis, including rufous-tailed hares, L. n. ruficaudatus, and an only slightly separate status of Burmese hares, but a distinct separation of both Indian and Burmese hares from woolly hares, L. oiostolus (n = 27), and Chinese hares, L. sinensis (n = 28), that where used as outgroups. The results conformed the current provisional systematic evaluation, positioning rufous-tailed hares within Indian hares, but rendering the separate species status of L. peguensis still open.

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