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Volume 80, Issue 5 (Sep 2016)

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Field identification of Apodemus flavicollis and Apodemus sylvaticus: a quantitative comparison of different biometric measurements

Paola Bartolommei
  • Corresponding author
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
  • Email:
/ Giulia Sozio
  • Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università La Sapienza di Roma, Viale dell’Università 32, 00185 Roma, Italy
/ Cristina Bencini
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
/ Carlo Cinque
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
  • Dipartimento di Fisiologia e Farmacologia “Vittorio Erspamer”, Università La Sapienza di Roma, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy
/ Stefania Gasperini
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
  • U.R. Ecologia comportamentale, Etologia e Gestione della fauna, Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Università di Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
/ Emiliano Manzo
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
/ Simona Prete
  • Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università La Sapienza di Roma, Viale dell’Università 32, 00185 Roma, Italy
/ Emanuela Solano
  • Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università La Sapienza di Roma, Viale dell’Università 32, 00185 Roma, Italy
/ Roberto Cozzolino
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
/ Alessio Mortelliti
  • Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy
  • Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università La Sapienza di Roma, Viale dell’Università 32, 00185 Roma, Italy
Published Online: 2015-09-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2014-0051

Abstract

The identification of the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus and the yellow-necked mouse Apodemus flavicollis in the field has challenged many generations of field mammalogists, particularly in northern Spain and continental Italy. These two species present highly similar morphologic and morphometric characteristics especially when they are sympatric. Existing identification methods rely on morphometric and biometric measurements collected on killed or etherized animals, whereas in many field studies measurement may be taken only on live and awake animals. Genetic methods, instead, are time consuming, expensive and do not allow immediate identification in the field, which is a requirement in many types of ecological works. To contribute in filling this knowledge gap, the aims of this research were: 1) to assess biometric measurements (weight and length of hind foot) that allow species identification on live and awake animals and 2) to develop a predictive model and related software that, subject to refinement based on study area, will allow researchers to prioritise the selection of individuals to be identified by molecular approach. This model, based on a large (>1500) sample of individuals captured in two different sites in central Italy, should help to classify live and awake individuals of Apodemus species. Attached to this paper is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that may be used to apply the model to new data.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: body weight; GLM; length of hind feet; predictive model; small mammals

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About the article

Corresponding author: Paola Bartolommei, Fondazione Ethoikos, Convento dell’Osservanza, 53030 Radicondoli, Siena, Italy, e-mail:


Received: 2015-04-08

Accepted: 2015-08-28

Published Online: 2015-09-30

Published in Print: 2016-09-01



Citation Information: Mammalia, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2014-0051. Export Citation

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