Mitochondrial phylogeny of Arvicolinae using comprehensive taxonomic sampling yields new insights

Elena V. Buzan, Boris Krystufek, Bernd Hänfling, William F. Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Comprehensive taxonomic sampling can vastly improve the accuracy of phylogenetic reconstruction. Here, we present the most inclusive phylogenetic analysis of Arvicolinae (Mammalia, Rodentia) to date, combining all published cytochrome b gene sequences of greater than 1097 bp and new sequences from two monotypic genera. Overall, the phylogenetic relationships between 69 species of voles and lemmings, representing 18 genera and 10 tribes, were studied. By applying powerful modern approaches to phylogenetic reconstruction, such as maximum likelihood and Bayesian analysis, we provide new information on the early pulse of evolution within the Arvicolinae. While the position of two highly divergent lineages, Phenacomys and Ondatra, could not be resolved, the tribe Lemmini, appeared as the most basal group of voles. The collared lemmings (Dicrostonychini) grouped together with all of the remaining tribes. The two previously unstudied monotypic genera Dinaromys and Prometheomys form a moderately well-supported monophyletic clade, possibly a sister group to Ellobius (Ellobiusini). Furthermore, with one exception, all tribes (sensu Musser & Carleton, 2005) proved to be monophyletic and can thus be regarded as meaningful evolutionary entities. Only the tribe Arvicolini emerged as paraphyletic in both analyses because of the unresolved phylogenetic position of Arvicola terrestris. Steppe voles of the genus Lagurus were solidly supported as a sister group to the Microtus and allies clade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-835
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2008


  • Arvicolinae early radiation
  • Arvicolinae tribes
  • Cytochrome b gene
  • Dinaromys
  • Molecular phylogeny


Dive into the research topics of 'Mitochondrial phylogeny of Arvicolinae using comprehensive taxonomic sampling yields new insights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this