RESEARCH ARTICLE Molecular Phylogeny Supports Repeated Adaptation to Burrowing within Small-Eared Shrews Genus of Cryptotis (Eulipotyphla, Soricidae)

Abstract

Small-eared shrews of the NewWorld genus Cryptotis (Eulipotyphla, Soricidae) comprise at least 42 species that traditionally have been partitioned among four or more species groups based on morphological characters. TheCryptotis mexicana species group is of par-ticular interest, because its member species inhibit a subtly graded series of forelimb adap-tations that appear to correspond to locomotory behaviors that range from more ambulatory to more fossorial. Unfortunately, the evolutionary relationships both among species in the C.mexicana group and among the species groups remain unclear. To better understand the phylogeny of this group of shrews, we sequenced two mitochondrial and two nuclear genes. To help interpret the pattern and direction of morphological changes, we also gener-ated a matrix of morphological characters focused on the evolutionarily plastic humerus. We found significant discordant between the resulting molecular and morphological trees, suggesting considerable convergence in the evolution of the humerus. Our results indicat

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