At the southern fringe: extant and fossil water voles of the genus Arvicola (Rodentia, Cricetidae, Arvicolinae) from Israel, with the description of a new species

Lutz Christian Maul*, Rivka Rabinovich, Rebecca Biton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The (palaeo)biogeography of water voles is a puzzle that is not solved in detail yet. Extant species of the genus Arvicola cover a vast geographic area of the Palearctic. In this study, we collected morphometric data of extant and fossil Arvicola from Israel at the southern fringe of the water vole distribution area. The dental evolution of water voles is characterised by certain clear trends in the first lower molar (m1) related to crown height, tooth length, the proportion of the anteroconid-complex, and enamel differentiation. Trans-regional correlation of the latter trend shows that it did not develop completely synchronously in all the geographic areas of water voles’ distribution, i.e., not at the same evolutionary rate. Based on the size and geographic distribution, we tentatively consider the Israeli material to belong to an A. persicus group, which facilitates the possibility of future taxonomic subdivision. Among the Israeli material, Late Pleistocene remains from Nahal Mahanayeem Outlet (NMO) show a very particular morphology of the first lower molar compared to samples from other localities in Israel and western Asia, which–in our opinion–justifies the establishment of a new species Arvicola nahalensis n. sp.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2773-2793
Number of pages21
JournalHistorical Biology
Volume33
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Arvicola
  • biogeography
  • biostratigraphy
  • palaeoecology
  • southern Levant
  • taxonomy

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