First mtDNA Sequences and Body Measurements for Rattus norvegicus from the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus

Eleftherios Hadjisterkotis, George Konstantinou, Daria Sanna, Monica Pirastru, Paolo Mereu
2020 Life  
Invasive species are the primary driver of island taxa extinctions and, among them, those belonging to the genus Rattus are considered as the most damaging. The presence of black rat (Rattus rattus) on Cyprus has long been established, while that of brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) is dubious. This study is the first to provide molecular and morphological data to document the occurrence of R. norvegicus in the island of Cyprus. A total of 223 black rats and 14 brown rats were collected. Each
more » ... was first taxonomically attributed on the basis of body measurements and cranial observations. Four of the specimens identified as R. norvegicus and one identified as R. rattus were subjected to molecular characterization in order to corroborate species identification. The analyses of the mitochondrial control region were consistent with morphological data, supporting the taxonomic identification of the samples. At least two maternal molecular lineages for R. norvegicus were found in Cyprus. The small number of brown rats collected in the island, as well as the large number of samples of black rats retrieved in the past years might be an indication that the distribution of R. norvegicus is still limited into three out of the six districts of Cyprus.
doi:10.3390/life10080136 pmid:32764388 fatcat:kxmc6pf3evf6tjseqhbov4quk4