Biogeographical effects on body mass of native Australian and introduced mice, Pseudomys hermannsburgensis and Mus domesticus: an inquiry into Bergmann's Rule

S. Tomlinson, Philip Withers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We investigated interactions of body mass with geographical location, and five climatic measures for two Australian rodents, the native Australian sandy inland mouse (Pseudomys hermannsburgensis) and the introduced house mouse (Mus domesticus). Correlation and regression analyses identified interactions of body mass with latitude, longitude, average highest maximum and lowest minimum temperatures, average annual rainfall, rainfall variability, and aridity. There was a significant correlation of body mass with latitude and longitude for Mus domesticus and P. hermannsburgensis. House mice were heavier in the south and east, and sandy inland mice were heavier in the north and east. M. domesticus conforms to Bergmann’s Rule, while P. hermannsburgensis does not. Maximum temperature, aridity and rainfall variability significantly influenced body mass of M. domesticus, which was heavier at cooler maxima, in less arid areas, and in areas of greater rainfall variability. Only aridity significantly influenced body mass of P. hermannsburgensis, which was heavier in more arid areas. Temperature did not interact significantly with body mass. After accounting for climatic variables, there was still a significant relationship between the residuals of body mass with locality for both species, with a negative influence of latitude and a positive influence of longitude in both; the latitudinal interaction for both species was converse to Bergmann’s Rule. We suggest that latitude, ambient temperature and other selection pressures (such as aridity or productivity) can act in opposing directions, and speculate that the influence of other factors, such as food availability or sociality, may be more important than latitude or ambient temperature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)423-430
    JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
    Volume56
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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