Further assessment of the Genus Neodon and the description of a new species from Nepal

Nelish Pradhan, Ajay N. Sharma, Adarsh M. Sherchan, Saurav Chhetri, Paliza Shrestha, C. William Kilpatrick

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Recent molecular systematic studies of arvicoline voles of the genera Neodon, Lasiopodomys, Phaiomys, and Microtus from Central Asia suggest the inclusion of Phaiomys leucurus, Microtus clarkei, and Lasiopodomys fuscus into Neodon and moving Neodon juldaschi into Microtus (Blanfordimys). In addition, three new species of Neodon (N. linzhiensis, N. medogensis, and N. nyalamensis) have recently been described from Tibet. Analyses of concatenated mitochondrial (Cytb, COI) and nuclear (Ghr, Rbp3) genes recovered Neodon as a well-supported monophyletic clade including all the recently described and relocated species. Kimura-2-parameter distance between Neodon from western Nepal compared to N. sikimensis (K2P = 13.1) and N. irene (K2P = 13.4) was equivalent to genetic distances observed between recognized species of this genus. The specimens sampled from western Nepal were recovered sister to N. sikimensis in the concatenated analysis. However, analyses conducted exclusively with mitochondrial loci did not support this relationship. The occlusal patterns of the first lower (m1) and third upper (M3) molars were simpler in specimens from western Nepal in comparison to N. sikimensis from eastern Nepal and India. Twelve craniodental characters and four external field measurements were examined from specimens of N. sikimensis from eastern Nepal and India, N. irene, and Neodon from western Nepal. Neodon from western Nepal were significantly different from N. sikimensis from eastern Nepal and India in ten out of 16 characters measured and from N. irene for all characters except ear height. Specimens from western Nepal were smaller in size than N. sikimensis from Eastern Nepal and India and larger than N. irene. Together the results of the molecular and morphological analyses indicate that Neodon from western Nepal are distinct under the phylogenetic, genetic and morpho species concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0219157
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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