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Genetic identity of the critically endangered Wimmer's shrew Crocidura wimmeri
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Coastal primary rainforests have suffered damage in Côte d'Ivoire as a result of a lack of protection and urban pressures. Consequently, the highly endemic and critically endangered Wimmer's shrew, Crocidura wimmeri, known only from its type locality, Adiopodoumé, near Abidjan, was considered to have been extinct since 1976. Shrew species assignment is often problematic because of strong phenotypic similarities among many species. The phylogenetic position of C. wimmeri within the African Crocidura species should thus be clarified. In light of its recent rediscovery in the nearby small Banco National Park (34 km2), we investigated the genetic identity of seven specimens of C. wimmeri, based on 1020 bp of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b gene compared to other species sampled in the same region and published sequences from GenBank. Crocidura wimmeri formed a well-defined clade, the closest-related species being Crocidura sp., with a distance of 9.3%, a yet unknown species from Taï and Ziama forests. These results thus confirmed the validity of this species. This genetic characterization not only contributes to our knowledge of the evolution of West African shrews, but also may help in the discovery of additional populations of this critically endangered species.
Africa, conservation, Crocidurinae, cytochrome b, Ivory Coast, Soricidae
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