Phylogeny of the Brush-Tailed Mice

Norris and Chavez

The brush tailed mice of the genus Calomyscus have been isolated from their closest relatives for about 25 million years. The species in this group are found in the Middle East and Central Asia, where they are patchily distributed in relatively wet and rocky areas, but are usually absent in drier lowland deserts. The evolutionary history of the brush tailed mice was likely shaped by the expansion and retraction of these deserts during wet and dry periods.

The eighth species recognized within Calomyscus differ in color, skull shape, and genetic data, but these different lines of evidence conflict or fail to resolve questions of biodiversity within the group. Using tissues from multiple individuals from seven of the eight known species, we plan to generate SNP data, construct a phylogeny of species in the genus, and compare the results to other sources of data to understand the history of diversification within brush tailed mice.