Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


More options …
Volume 72, Issue 8


Morpho-metric analysis of the insular and mainland Rattus in Tunisia

Aymen Ben Ibrahim
  • Research Unit Biodiversité et Biologie des Populations, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, 2092, Tunis, Belgium
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Imed Ben Salem
  • Research Unit Biodiversité et Biologie des Populations, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, 2092, Tunis, Belgium
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ M’barek Chetoui
  • Research Unit Biodiversité et Biologie des Populations, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, 2092, Tunis, Belgium
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Saïd Nouira
  • Research Unit Biodiversité et Biologie des Populations, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, 2092, Tunis, Belgium
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-08-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/biolog-2017-0093


The genus Rattus is widely distributed in Tunisia. Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus coexist in continental areas, and only the black rat is present on islands. In the present work, we examined morpho-metric skull variations between continental and islands populations, a population of the Norway rat is used as comparative reference regarding the importance of variation. The influence of the environmental conditions of the Tunisian islands on skull dimensions was determined. The results show that the skull size of island specimens is larger than skulls from specimens in continental areas and even bigger for some mandibular parameters than the Norway rat. The morphological difference is driven by ecological factors such as lack of competition and the low predation pressure and the nature of trophic resources rich in calcium, which might help increase the size of skulls of island Rattus. This difference seems to be a trait evolving faster in comparison with R. norvegicus.

Key words: Rattus rattu; Rattus norvegicus; morpho-metrics; skulls; Tunisia


  • Alcover J.A. 1983. Contribució al coneixement dels mamífers de les Balears i Pitiũses: Carnivora, Rodentia. PhD Thesis. University of Barcelona, Departament de Biologia Animal, 1446 pp.Google Scholar

  • Angerbjörn A. 1986. Gigantism in island populations of wood mice (Apodemus) in Europe. Oikos 47 (1): 47–56. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ben Ibrahim A., Ben Salem I., Chetoui M. & Nouira S. 2013. Analyse caryotypique de Rattus rattus et Rattus norvegicus (Rongeurs, Muridae) en Tunisie. Bull. Soc. Zool. Fr. 138 (1-4): 347–353.Google Scholar

  • Bernard J. 1969. Les mammifères de Tunisie et des régions voisines. Bulletin de la Faculte d’Agronomie Tunis 24-25: 37–172Google Scholar

  • Blondel J. 1986. Biogéographie évolutive. Masson, Paris, 221 pp.Google Scholar

  • Bookstein F.L. 1991. Morphometric Tools for Landmarks Data. Geometry and Biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 435 pp. ISBN: 0-521-38385-4Google Scholar

  • Cheylan G. 1986. Facteurs historiques. écologiques et génétiques de l’évolution de populations méditerranéennes de Rattus rattus. Discussion des modèles de spéciation. PhD Thesis. University of Montpellier II, 94 pp.Google Scholar

  • Chimimba C.T. & Dippenaar N.J. 1995. The selection of taxonomic characters for morphometric analysis: a case study based on Southern African Aethomys (Mammalia, Rodentia, Muridae). Annals of Carnegie Museum 64 (3): 197–217.Google Scholar

  • Daget J. 1976. Les Modèles Mathématiques en Écologie. Masson, Paris VIII, 172 pp. ISBN-10: 2225440557, ISBN-13: 9782225440557Google Scholar

  • Duplantier J.M. 1990. Les rongeurs de la vallée du fleuve Sénégal: état des connaissances en matière de santé et d’agriculture. Rapport Centre ORSTOM (ES-DK-28.90). Dakar, 19 pp. http://horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins_textes/pleins_t.extes_7/b_fdi_59-60/010026055.pdf (accessed 02.01.2017)

  • Faleh A.B., Annabi A. & Said K. 2012. Morphometric variation in Black Rat Rattus rattus (Rodentia: Muridae) from Tunisia. Acta Zool. Bulg. 64 (4): 381–387.Google Scholar

  • Foucart T. 1982. Analyse Factorielle, Programmation sur Micro-Ordinateur. Masson, Paris, 234 pp. ISBN: 2225754506Google Scholar

  • Gliwicz J. 1980. Island population of rodents: their organisation and functioning. Biol. Rev. 55 (1): 109–138. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Granjon L. & Cheylan G. 1990. Différenciation biométrique des rats noirs (Rattus rattus) des îles ouest-méditerranéennes. Mammalia 54 (2): 213–231. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Granjon L. & Cheylan G. 1993. Différenciation génétique. morphologique et comportementale des populations de rats noirs Rattus rattus (L.) des îles d’Hyères (Var.France). Scientific Reports of Port-Cros National Park (France) 15: 153–170. http://www.portcrosparcnational.fr/var/ezwebin_site/storage/original/application/9a058ea88cb0486d16aceb54577f4b89.pdf (accessed 02.01.2017)

  • Harrison D.L. & Bates P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Publication Kent-England, 354 pp. ISBN: 0951731300.Google Scholar

  • Hammer Ø., Harper D.A.T. & Ryan P.D. 2001. PAST version 2.17: Paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontol Electron. 4 (1): 1–9.Google Scholar

  • James F. 1970. Geographic size variation in birds and its relationship to climate. Ecology 51 (3): 365–390. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kahmann H. & Haedrich B. 1957. Eine Untersuchung an Rattus rattus Linnaeus, 1758, auf der Insel Korsika. Zool. Anz.158: 233–257.Google Scholar

  • Klingenberg C.P. 2013. MorphoJ. version 1.05f. Faculty of life Sciences. University of Manchester. United Kingdom. http://www.flywings.org.uk/morphoj_page.htm. (accessed 01.07.2016)

  • Lawlor T.E. 1982. The evolution of body size in mammals: evidence from insular population in Mexico. Am. Natur. 119 (1): 54–72. CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Petter F. 1961. Répartition géographique et écologique des rongeurs désertiques de la région paléarctique. PhD Thesis. University of Paris, 222 pp.Google Scholar

  • Rohlf F.J. 2009. tpsDig. version 1.40; Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York at Stony Brook. United States. http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/morph/ (accessed 01.07.2016)

  • Sanders L. 1989. L’Analyse Statistique des Données en Géographie. GIP RECLUS (Col. Alidade), Montpellier, 268 pp. ISBN: 2-86912-028-0Google Scholar

  • Saporta G. 1990. Probabilités, Analyse des Données et Statistique. Éditions Technip, Paris, 493 pp. ISBN: 2-7108-0565-0Google Scholar

  • Sondaar P.Y. 1977. Insulary and its effects on mammal evolution, pp. 671–707. In: Hecht M.K. & Goody P.C (eds), Major Patterns in Vertebrate Evolution, Plenum Press, New York, 908 pp. . ISBN: 978-1-4684-8853-1CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Scherrer B. 1984. Biostatistiques. Gaëtan Morin (ed.), Québec, Canada, 850 pp. ISBN: 2-89105-093-2Google Scholar

  • Wilson D.E. & Reeder D.M. 2005. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, 2142 pp. ISBN: 0801882214, 9780801882210Google Scholar

  • Zaïem M.H. 1988. Les méthodes exploratrices de l’analyse des données. PhD Thesis. University of Tunis, 225 pp.Google Scholar

  • Zimmerman K. 1953. Die Rodentia Kretas. Z. Säugetierkunde 17: 21–51.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-02-15

Accepted: 2017-06-29

Published Online: 2017-08-31

Published in Print: 2017-08-28

Citation Information: Biologia, Volume 72, Issue 8, Pages 927–934, ISSN (Online) 1336-9563, ISSN (Print) 0006-3088, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/biolog-2017-0093.

Export Citation

© 2017 Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in