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Abstract

Bandicoot rats (genus Bandicota) are distributed widely across the Indomalay biogeographic realm of tropical East Asia. One widely distributed species, the greater bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica), has a disjunct distribution including both north and south of the biogeographic break at the Isthmus of Kra. We compared genetic variation of greater bandicoot rats from north and south of the Isthmus of Kra using mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b, 1140 bp) and nuclear interphotoreceptor retinoid binding protein (IRBP, 801 bp) sequences. We found that the greater bandicoot rat (B. indica) is not native to Sundaland, the region south of the Isthmus of Kra. The species was introduced to the region recently as the genetic divergence with other regions is very low and phylogenies of both genes showed Malaysian greater bandicoot rat very closely related to conspecifics from Lao PDR. Haplotype data revealed all individuals from Malaysia are homogenous, which implied that the species was introduced recently. The greater bandicoot rats in Malaysia are so far only reported in the rice producing regions of Kedah and Perlis, but they may be increasing in number and distribution. A more detailed survey on the distribution and population demographics of Malaysian greater bandicoot rats are needed to support a management plan for this invasive species.
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https://doi.org/10.1007/s10914-020-09535-4
ORIGINAL PAPER
Greater Bandicoot Rats (Bandicota indica) are Not Native toSundaland
Based onDeoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Analyses
MohamadAzamFirdausSaarani1· JenniferA.Leonard2 · BadrulMunirMd‑Zain3· HasmahzaitiOmar1,4
Accepted: 27 December 2020
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature 2021
Abstract
Bandicoot rats (genus Bandicota) are distributed widely across the Indomalay biogeographic realm of tropical East Asia. One
widely distributed species, the greater bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica), has a disjunct distribution including both north and
south of the biogeographic break at the Isthmus of Kra. We compared genetic variation of greater bandicoot rats from north
and south of the Isthmus of Kra using mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b, 1140bp) and nuclear interphotoreceptor retinoid
binding protein (IRBP, 801bp) sequences. We found that the greater bandicoot rat (B. indica) is not native to Sundaland, the
region south of the Isthmus of Kra. The species was introduced to the region recently as the genetic divergence with other
regions is very low and phylogenies of both genes showed Malaysian greater bandicoot rat very closely related to conspecifics
from Lao PDR. Haplotype data revealed all individuals from Malaysia are homogenous, which implied that the species was
introduced recently. The greater bandicoot rats in Malaysia are so far only reported in the rice producing regions of Kedah
and Perlis, but they may be increasing in number and distribution. A more detailed survey on the distribution and popula-
tion demographics of Malaysian greater bandicoot rats are needed to support a management plan for this invasive species.
Keywords Introduced species· Sundaland· Isthmus of kra· Genetic divergence· Indochina
Introduction
The Indomalay biogeographic realm has been the center of
origin for many groups of rats (Murinae), and is particularly
rich in species diversity (Musser and Carleton 2005). This
biogeographic realm is further divided into biogeographic
regions including the Indian subcontinent, Indochina,
Sundaland, and the Philippines (Lekagul and McNeely 1988;
Myers etal. 2000). Many genera are endemic to a single bio-
geographic region (Musser and Carleton 2005; Francis 2008;
Woodruff and Turner 2009). One exception is the bandicoot
rats (genus Bandicota; see Fig.1).
There are three species in the genus of bandicoot rats,
all of which have large distributions in the Indomalay bio-
geographic realm. One species, Savile’s bandicoot rat (B.
savilei), is endemic to Indochina (Myanmar, Thailand, and
Vietnam). The other two species of bandicoot rats, the
greater bandicoot rat (B. indica) and the lesser bandicoot
rat (B. bengalensis), are much more widely distributed
(Musser and Carleton 2005; Francis 2008). The greater
bandicoot rat has the widest distribution, including almost
all of the Indian subcontinent and Indochina, a disjunct
population on the Malay Peninsula, and a likely intro-
duced population in Java (Fig.1). The lesser bandicoot
rat is primarily distributed across the Indian subcontinent
including Sri Lanka, and likely introduced in Sumatra
and Java. The populations on the Sunda islands (Sumatra
and Java) are widely considered introduced (Aplin etal.
2003), but Musser and Newcomb (1983) suggested that all
populations of all species of Bandicota in Sundaland may
* Mohamad Azam Firdaus Saarani
azamfirdaus91@gmail.com
* Hasmahzaiti Omar
zaiti_1978@yahoo.com; zaiti_1978@um.edu.my
1 Institute ofBiological Sciences, Faculty ofScience,
University ofMalaya, 50603KualaLumpur, Malaysia
2 Conservation andEvolutionary Genetics Group, Estación
Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Avda. Américo
Vespucio, 41092Seville, Spain
3 Department ofBiological Sciences andBiotechnology,
Faculty ofScience andTechnology, Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia, 43600Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
4 Museum ofZoology (Block F), Institute ofBiological
Sciences, Faculty ofScience, University ofMalaya,
50603KualaLumpur, Malaysia
/ Published online: 11 January 2021
Journal of Mammalian Evolution (2021) 28:929–938
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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