Ecophenotypic variation and phylogenetic inheritance in first lower molar shape of extant Italian populations of Microtus (Terricola) savii (Rodentia)
Seventeen extant populations of Microtus (Terricola) savii have been investigated for correlations of first lower molar shape to climatic variables by means of geometric morphometrics, and controlling for phylogenetic inheritance. Comparative methods revealed that climatic variables and phylogeography provide a very similar contribution to variation in first lower molars morphology, whereas tooth size does not appear to be affected by climatic conditions. Climate-related changes have been recognized in the anteroconid portion of the tooth. This indicates that molar tooth variation is strongly influenced by climatic conditions, although in a complex way. Calabrian populations, often ascribed to Microtus (Terricola) brachycercus, form a distinct cluster, in agreement with the most recent genetic analyses. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 99, 632–647.