Phylogeography of the red-tailed chipmunk (Tamias ruficaudus), a northern Rocky Mountain endemic

J. M. Good, J. Sullivan

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The northern Rocky Mountains have experienced a complex history of geological events and environmental fluctuation, including Pleistocene glaciation. To provide an initial assessment of the genetic impact of this history on the regional biota we estimated phylogenetic relationships within Tamias ruficaudus, a regional endemic, from cytochrome b sequence variation using parsimony, maximum likelihood, and nested clade analysis. Analyses of sequence variation in 187 individuals from 43 localities across the distribution of T. ruficaudus indicate a history of vicariance events and range fluctuation consistent with successive periods of extensive Pleistocene glaciation in the northern Rocky Mountains. Intraspecific divergence levels (c. 4.7% uncorrected) and phylogenetic structure are consistent with a genealogical vicariance initiated prior to the Late Pleistocene, whereas nested clade analyses indicate more recent population history structured by both fragmentation and range expansion. A comparison of sequence variation with bacular morphology indicates that the two genetically and morphologically differentiated entities exhibit a zone of differential character introgression. Sequence data support a multiple refugia hypothesis and provide a phylogeographical case study for the ongoing synthesis of regional biogeography for northern Rocky Mountain endemics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2683-2695
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cytochrome b
  • Likelihood
  • Nested clade analysis
  • Northern Rocky Mountains
  • Phylogeography
  • Tamias ruficaudus


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