Genomic resolution of cryptic species diversity in chipmunks

Nathanael D. Herrera, Kayce C. Bell, Colin M. Callahan, Erin Nordquist, Brice A.J. Sarver, Jack Sullivan, John R. Demboski, Jeffrey M. Good

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Discovery of cryptic species is essential to understand the process of speciation and assessing the impacts of anthropogenic stressors. Here, we used genomic data to test for cryptic species diversity within an ecologically well-known radiation of North American rodents, western chipmunks (Tamias). We assembled a de novo reference genome for a single species (Tamias minimus) combined with new and published targeted sequence-capture data for 21,551 autosomal and 493 X-linked loci sampled from 121 individuals spanning 22 species. We identified at least two cryptic lineages corresponding with an isolated subspecies of least chipmunk (T. minimus grisescens) and with a restricted subspecies of the yellow-pine chipmunk (Tamias amoenus cratericus) known only from around the extensive Craters of the Moon lava flow. Additional population-level sequence data revealed that the so-called Crater chipmunk is a distinct species that is abundant throughout the coniferous forests of southern Idaho. This cryptic lineage does not appear to be most closely related to the ecologically and phenotypically similar yellow-pine chipmunk but does show evidence for recurrent hybridization with this and other species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2019
Number of pages16
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Hybridization
  • Neotamias
  • Tamias
  • introgression
  • phylogenomics
  • speciation


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