The Perognathus longimembris species group currently consists of 3 species and approximately 23 subspecies. Members of this species group have been of considerable interest to biologists in both physiological and ecological studies, and several members are threatened with extinction. No one has yet attempted a phylogenetic study including several populations from each of these 3 species to test the monophyly of these taxa and to elucidate the relationships among the species and subspecies. Mitochondrial DNA sequences from the cytochrome-b gene were used to assess the genetic variation among these species and to make a 1st approximation of the number of species that should be recognized taxonomically in this species group. Results indicate that the Arizona pocket mouse, P. amplus, and the San Joaquin pocket mouse, P. inornatus, are monophyletic entities, and should remain as single polytypic species, whereas the little pocket mouse, P. longimembris, is paraphyletic in the maximum-likelihood and maximum-parsimony phylogenies, suggesting that it might best be split into 2 polytypic species.
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