Violaine Nicolas

Violaine Nicolas
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle · Department of Systematics and Evolution

PhD

About

315
Publications
64,353
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2,662
Citations
Additional affiliations
December 2004 - present
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Position
  • Researcher
September 1999 - September 2003
Université de Rennes 1
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (315)
Article
Full-text available
The forelimb is involved in many behaviours including locomotion. Notably, the humero-ulnar articulation, implicated in the elbow joint, is of particular importance for both mobility and stability. Functional constraints, induced in part by environmental plasticity, are thought to drive an important part of the bone shape as bone directly responds...
Article
Full-text available
Untangling the factors of morphological evolution has long held a central role in the study of evolutionary biology. Extant speciose clades that have only recently diverged are ideal study subjects, as they allow the examination of rapid morphological variation in a phylogenetic context, providing insights into a clade’s evolution. Here, we focus o...
Article
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Fragmentation is a recurring feature of archaeological faunal material, and impacts many aspects of zooarchaeological studies from taxonomical identification to biometric studies. It can result from anthropic and natural actions that occurred respectively before and/or after bone deposit. While several bone fragmentation typologies have been descri...
Article
Full-text available
Progress in genome sequencing now enables the large-scale generation of reference genomes. Various international initiatives aim to generate reference genomes representing global biodiversity. These genomes provide unique insights into genomic diversity and architecture, thereby enabling comprehensive analyses of population and functional genomics,...
Data
Supplemental Material, S8. Data matrix for the phylogenentic analysis of the Crocidurinae, with 46 characters and 20 species including the out-group species, Myosorex, Neomys and Sorex, and character descriptions. Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DO...
Data
Supplemental Material, S4. General information on the principal component analyses performed for the skull shape comparisons in (Crocidurinae/Myosoricinae)/Soricinae and separately in Crocidura. Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinne...
Data
Supplemental Material, S3. Configuration of 14 landmarks used for cranial shape analyses and R script for visualisation of the shape transformation (two figs). Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885,...
Data
Supplemental Material, S6. Results of skull shape analysis of 11 Crocidura species (four figures). Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentition (Soricomorpha, Soricidae) — Crocidurinae phy...
Data
Supplemental Material, S2. Abbreviations used in the text. Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentition (Soricomorpha, Soricidae) — Crocidurinae phylogeny via http://morphobank.org/permali...
Data
Supplemental Material, S1. List of specimens analysed, additional information on specimens and settings for micro-computed tomography scanning. Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentitio...
Data
Supplemental Material, S9. Variability of qualitative characters used in the parsimony analysis. Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentition (Soricomorpha, Soricidae) — Crocidurinae phylo...
Data
Supplemental Material, S10. Parsimony analysis results. Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentition (Soricomorpha, Soricidae) — Crocidurinae phylogeny via http://morphobank.org/permalink/...
Data
Supplemental Material, S5. Results of skull shape analysis of the samples of (Crocidurinae/Myosoricinae)/Soricinae subfamilies (six figures). Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentition (...
Data
Supplemental Material, S7. Images of the reconstructed surfaces of upper teeth and pulp endocast of 20 shrew species (30 plates). Article: Dental polymorphisms in Crocidura (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) and evolutionary diversification of crocidurine shrew dentition. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab103 see also: Project: 3885, Shrew dentition (Soricomorpha...
Article
Full-text available
The upper dentition of Crocidura exhibits polymorphic characters that were revealed for the first time in this study via high-resolution X-ray computed microtomography. Our analyses of 11 Crocidura species and selected Diplomesodon, Suncus and Sylvisorex species from different geographical regions and size groups revealed the most complex character...
Article
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Two species of hedgehogs are known to occur in northern part of Africa: the Algerian hedgehog Atelerix algirus and the Ethiopian hedgehog Paraechinus aethiopicus . Within each species several subspecies were described based on morphometrical data and pelage coloration, but all these subspecies have enigmatic and unclear definitions. We investigated...
Article
In this study, we collected 226 shrew specimens originating from 16 localities on the Guinean and Liberian sides of Mount Nimba. We surveyed all major vegetation zones from 400 to 1600 m above sea level (asl), including forest and savannah habitats. We recorded 11 species, whose identifications were confirmed by genetic analyses and classical morph...
Chapter
Phylogeography endeavors to understand the processes that underlie the geographical distribution of genetic variation within and among closely related species. This chapter explains what phylogeography is and presents methodological and conceptual developments in this field. During the first decades of phylogeography, most studies involved analyses...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of mole, Talpa aquitania Nicolas, Martínez-Vargas & Hugot, 2017, was recently described from France. Based on the genetic identification of 270 individuals it was hypothesized that T. aquitania and T. europaea Linnaeus, 1758 are allopatric, being distributed on opposite sides of the Loire River, with the exception of a small area of s...
Article
The tribe Praomyini is a diversified group including 64 species and eight extant rodent genera. They live in a broad spectrum of habitats across whole sub-Saharan Africa. Members of this tribe are often very abundant, they have a key ecological role in ecosystems, they are hosts of many potentially pathogenic microorganisms and comprise numerous ag...
Article
Full-text available
The family Pteropodidae (Old World fruit bats) comprises >200 species distributed across the Old World tropics and subtropics. Most pteropodids feed on fruit, suggesting an early origin of frugivory, although several lineages have shifted to nectar-based diets. Pteropodids are of exceptional conservation concern with >50% of species considered thre...
Article
Climbing mice in the genus Dendromus (sensu lato) are widely distributed in Africa, south of the Saharan Desert. The 17 currently recognized species in the genus range from widespread taxa to single-mountain endemics, and there is considerable variation across species with respect to habitats occupied. These habitats range from arid grasslands and...
Article
The tribe Arvicanthini (Muridae: Murinae) is a highly diversified group of rodents (ca. 100 species) and with 18 African genera (plus one Asiatic) represents probably the most successful adaptive radiation of extant mammals in Africa. They colonized a broad spectrum of habitats (from rainforests to semi-deserts) in whole sub-Saharan Africa and thei...
Article
Organisms living in high altitude must adapt to environmental conditions with hypoxia and low temperature, e.g. by changes in the structure and function of proteins associated with oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. Here we analysed the signs of adaptive evolution in 27 mitogenomes of endemic Ethiopian rats (Stenocephalemys), where individu...
Article
The African rodent genus Mastomys contains eight species, some of which are widely distributed pest species and others which have restricted distribution. Most species are recognized only on chromosomal or molecular genetic data. We aimed to clarify the systematic status, geographical distribution, and phylogenetic relationships of three Mastomys s...
Article
Murine rodents are one of the most evolutionary successful groups of extant mammals. They are also important for human as vectors and reservoirs of zoonoses and agricultural pests. Unfortunately, their fast and relatively recent diversification impedes our understanding of phylogenetic relationships and species limits of many mu-rine taxa, includin...
Article
During the Ceramic Age (500 BCE–1500 CE), Lesser Antilles rice rats (Tribe Oryzomyini) made up a significant portion of the diet of Caribbean islanders. Archaeological excavations across the archipelago resulted to the discovery of large quantities of remains from to these now extinct taxa. It offers a unique opportunity to investigate the past bio...
Article
Full-text available
en Species identification methods are needed for small mammals. Herein, we present a simple and efficient identification key based on the hair morphology of Central African rodents (Rodentia) and shrews (Soricomorpha). A total of 1,320 museum hair samples from 51 species were analysed with an optical light microscope. One‐third (31.37%) of these sa...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical Africa is home to an astonishing biodiversity occurring in a variety of ecosystems. Past climatic change and geological events have impacted the evolution and diversification of this biodiversity. During the last two decades, around 90 dated molecular phylogenies of different clades across animals and plants have been published leading to...
Article
The taxonomic status of the gerbil Gerbillus amoenus in relation to Gerbillus nanus and the distribution range of these two species in Africa and/or Asia have long been debated and are not yet fully clarified. In our study, we identify two specimens of small gerbils that we captured in two localities of the south of Morocco, using morphometric and/...
Article
In the Republic of Guinea (West Africa), the diversity and distribution of striped grass mice of the genus Lemniscomys is poorly known. In the course of long-term field surveys from 2003 to 2011, we collected 97 specimens from various regions of Guinea with the aim of characterizing the morphological and genetic diversity of the genus in the countr...
Article
The Lama forest is the largest natural forest in southern Benin, and one of the last remnant forests within the Dahomey Gap. It harbours several species of major importance in terms of conservation. Small mammals are known to represent more than 80% of the African mammalian species diversity but they have received little attention in Benin. In this...
Article
Black rats (Rattus rattus) are native to the Indian subcontinent but have now colonized most continents and islands following human movements and international trade. They are involved in the circulation and transmission to humans of many zoonotic agents as well as in massive damage to food stocks and native biodiversity in the regions they have se...
Article
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The murid rodent Praomys daltoni is widespread in Sudanian savanna and woodlands of West Africa, and previous study of mitochondrial DNA variability suggested that it encompasses the phenotypically (small, grey-bellied) and ecologically (commensal) distinct form, Praomys derooi. Here, we comprehensively examined the genetic and morphological divers...
Article
Wood mice of the genus Hylomyscus, are small-sized rodents widely distributed in lowland and montane rainforests in tropical Africa, where they can be locally abundant. Recent morphological and molecular studies have increased the number of recognized species from 8 to 18 during the last 15 years. We used complete mitochondrial genomes and five nuc...
Article
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The libyan jird is one of the most widely distributed species among wild rodents, with its range extending from Morocco to China. Fifteen subspecies were described but their validity and the phylogenetic relationships among them are uncertain. Based on a comprehensive sampling, this study aims to define subspecies limits within Meriones libycus and...
Article
A small collection of bats composed of six species from Dire Dawa area, eastern Ethiopia, is presented. Besides three species previously known in the region, Rousettus aegyptiacus, Epomophorus minimus and Chaerephon pumilus, three bats were newly documented from the area, Rhinopoma microphyllum, R. cystops and Scotophilus leucogaster. R. microphyll...
Article
Northwestern Africa is today characterized by high geographical, climatic and ecological diversity; it is recognized as a hotspot of biodiversity and a major area for both human and faunal evolution. Studies of North African fossil microvertebrates have increased considerably in recent years, but they no longer just provide palaeontological descrip...
Article
Full-text available
The taxonomic status of the gerbil Gerbillus amoenus in relation to Gerbillus nanus and the distribution range of these two species in Africa and/or Asia have long been debated and are not yet fully clarified. In our study, we identify two specimens of small gerbils that we captured in two localities of the south of Morocco, using morphometric and/...
Article
Full-text available
Gerbillus campestris is a widely distributed small rodent that lives in various habitats in North Africa and can be a potential agricultural pest. We conducted a biogeographic study of this species with an integrative approach using morphometric data from body and craniomandibular distances and molecular genetic data from the cytochrome b gene of t...
Article
Full-text available
Aim We investigate the Plio‐Pleistocene evolutionary history of one of the most abundant rodents in Afrotropical forests. Specifically, we ask how their diversification was influenced by climate change, topography and major rivers. Location Tropical Africa: Lower Guinea (including Cameroon volcanic line; CVL), Congolia, Albertine Rift (AR), Kenyan...
Article
The taxonomy of African shrew species is still unresolved due to their conserved morphology. This also affects knowledge concerning their geographic distribution. In Nigeria, using mitochondrial Cytochrome b gene sequences, we carried out a survey for shrews from the genus Crocidura across various ecological zones to determine taxa that are present...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Projet en cours - Projet fédérateur intra- et inter-UMR - ISYEB (UMR 7205) (7 personnes - 3 équipes de recherche) ; CR2P (UMR 7207) (2 personnes - 2 équipes de recherche) Valorisation & enrichissement collections du MNHN : Ensemble Vertébrés : 350 specimens du MNHN ré-identifiés au niveau spécifique 432 nouveaux spécimens intégrés dans les collect...
Article
Aim This study aims to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the Crocidura poensis species complex and to identify factors driving diversification within it. We tested whether: (a) there is a pattern of allopatric differentiation coincident with the location of hypothesized Pleistocene forest refugia, (b) sister taxa are separated by broad rivers...
Article
Full-text available
The Gambian epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus gambianus) is an abundant species that roosts in both urban and rural settings. The possible role of E. gambianus as a reservoir host of zoonotic diseases underlines the need to better understand the species movement patterns. So far, neither observational nor phylogenetic studies have identified the di...
Article
The Gambian epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus gambianus) is an abundant species that roosts in both urban and rural settings. The possible role of E. gambianus as a reservoir host of zoonotic diseases underlines the need to better understand the species movement patterns. So far, neither observational nor phylogenetic studies have identified the di...
Article
Full-text available
Régime alimentaire de Crocidura pachyura (Küster, 1835) (Mammalia, Soricidae) dans plusieurs localités d'Algérie.-Le régime alimentaire de Crocidura pachyura (Küster, 1835) a été étudié grâce à l'analyse des contenus stomacaux de 95 spécimens collectés sur le terrain de juin 2007 à septembre 2008 et de mars 2012 à mai 2014. Ces individus ont été co...
Article
Full-text available
A terrestrial small mammal species survey was carried out in the Taï National Park from March to June 2010, using Sherman's live traps and pitfall traps. The aim of the study was to determine the diversity and distribution of rodents and shrews in three different habitats: primary, secondary and swamp forests. During the study period, 263 terrestri...
Article
Full-text available
Even though Gerbillinae rodents represent an important part of the mammalian fauna in North Africa, many gaps remain in our understanding of the distribution, ecology, evolution, and systematics of some lesser known species in this family. We present in this study the most recent findings on two of these species. The first species, Gerbillus simoni...
Article
North Africa is now recognized as a major area for the emergence and dispersal of anatomically modern humans from at least 315 kya. The Mediterranean Basin is thus particularly suited to study the role of climate versus human-mediated changes on the evolutionary history of species. The Algerian mouse (Mus spretus Lataste) is an endemic species from...
Article
Anomaluroidea, commonly known as the “scaly-tailed squirrels,” are an emblematic group of tropical African mammals that includes gliding forms. The family Anomaluridae was until recently represented by three genera: the flying scaly-tailed squirrels (Anomalurus), the flying mouse (Idiurus) and the flightless scaly-tailed squirrels (Zenkerella). Idi...
Article
Widely distributed in Guineo-Congolian forests, the genus Hybomys is represented by two species complexes (univittatus and trivirgatus), each restricted to one distinct forest block. In the last revision, these two species complexes were considered as distinct subgenera (Hybomys and Typomys). Previous morphological and karyological studies identifi...
Chapter
Full-text available
If there’s one mammal all garden owners know well, without ever having actually seen one, it is the mole. A friendly character in childhood cartoons (The Mole by Zdenek Miler) or comics (Les Riquiquis from the French magazine Youpi j’ai compris), this animal is often hated by gardeners and lawn tenders who hardly appreciate the numerous molehills l...
Article
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We recently published the diagnosis and name of a new mammal species: Talpa aquitania Nicolas, Vargas & Hugot, 2015. Unfortunately, it happened that the editors of the Bulletin de l’Académie Vétérinaire de France, the selected journal, decided to stop the paper edition for their publication. An attentive examination of the corresponding articles of...
Article
Recent integration of ecological niche models in phylogeographic studies is improving our understanding of the processes structuring genetic variation across landscapes. Previous studies on the amphibian Bufotes boulengeri boulengeri uncovered a surprisingly weak intraspecific differentiation across the Maghreb region. We widely sampled this specie...
Preprint
Full-text available
Several classes of methods have been proposed for inferring the history of populations from genetic polymorphism data. As connectivity is a key factor to explain the structure of populations, several graph-based methods have been developed to this aim, using population genetics data. Here we propose an original method based on graphical models that...
Article
Rodents of the Meriones shawii/grandis complex have been attested to in North Africa since the Middle Pleistocene and are abundant in archaeological sites. Today, they are widely spread and represent a major pest to local human populations. This complex, therefore, represents an accurate model for investigating the roles of climate change and human...
Article
Several millions frogs captured in the wild in Indonesia are sold for food yearly in French supermarkets, as deep frozen frog legs. They are commercialized as Rana macrodon, but up to 15 look-alike species might also be concerned by this trade. From December 2012 to May 2013, we bought 209 specimens of deep frozen frog legs, and identified them thr...
Article
Full-text available
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Data
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Article
Full-text available
A recent mitochondrial study showed that the common mole, Talpa europaea, is paraphyletic; which could be explained either by an ancient introgression of mtDNA from the Iberian blind mole T. occidentalis to T. europaea, or the existence of a differentiated taxonomic entity in Northern Spain that needs to be described. In this study we combined mito...
Article
Full-text available
Five subspecies of the Persian Jird, Meriones persicus, were reported from Iran. These subspecies were described based on morphological characters and coat colors of few specimens. The question of the validity of these subspecies and their geographic distribution is raised. In this study, we combined genetic markers (Cox1, Cytb and IRBP genes), mor...