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Ecogeographic variation and taxonomic boundaries in Large Treeshrews (Scandentia, Tupaiidae: Tupaia tana Raffles, 1821) from Southeast Asia

June 17, 2021

The Large Treeshrew, Tupaia tana Raffles, 1821, is a small mammal (~205 g) from Southeast Asia with a complicated taxonomic history. Currently, 15 subspecies are recognized from Borneo, Sumatra, and smaller islands, and many were originally differentiated based on minor pelage differences and small sample sizes. We explored intraspecific variation in T. tana using quantitative osteological data obtained from the hands and skulls of museum specimens. Multivariate analyses reveal extensive overlap among T. tana populations in morphospace, indicating that the majority of currently recognized subspecies are not morphometrically distinct. In contrast, the separation between Bornean and Sumatran populations of T. tana is sufficient to recognize them as different subspecies. Comparisons of Bornean specimens to those on small, offshore islands reveal that the latter average smaller body size. This pattern is inconsistent with Foster’s island rule, which predicts that island populations of small mammals (< 5 kg) will average larger body size relative to mainland forms. A similar lack of support for ecogeographic rules has been noted in T. glis (Diard, 1820), suggesting that these “rules” are poor predictors of geographic variation in treeshrews.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Ecogeographic variation and taxonomic boundaries in Large Treeshrews (Scandentia, Tupaiidae: Tupaia tana Raffles, 1821) from Southeast Asia
DOI 10.1093/jmammal/gyab059
Authors Maya M. Juman, Neal Woodman, Link E. Olson, Eric J. Sargis
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Mammalogy
Series Number
Index ID 70221538
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center