oa African Zoology - Identification of cryptic species of rodents (Mastomys, Aethomys, Saccostomus) in the Kruger National Park

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Mastomys natalensis, Aethomys chrysophilus and Saccostomus campestris are three common and widespread rodent species in the Kruger National Park. Chromosomal and protein electrophoretic investigations reveal that these species are in fact complexes of morphologically similar, though genetically distinct, species. Their respective distributions in the Kruger National Park are reported and species diagnostic characters (diploid chromosome number, genitalia, spermatozoa and electromorphs) are presented for the practical identification of the cryptic species. The value of a genetical approach to resolving cryptic species is emphasized with respect to ecological studies.

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