MORALES miriam mariana
congresos y reuniones científicas
Global morphofunctional patterns determine regional assemblage structure in wild cats
Mendoza, Argentina
Congreso; 10th International Mammalogical Congress; 2009
Institución organizadora:
Biodiversity Research Group; Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas; CCT Mendoza ; CONICET; International Federation of Mammalogists y Soc. Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos
Forty one species of felids are distributed in all continents except Australia. While these species are remarkably uniform in shape and function, felids as a group cope with ecosystem variation as extreme as the contrast between the Arctic and the Amazon. Thus we set out to explore in depth the morphofunctional variation in felids at a global scale. We generated a morphospace based on metric variables measured on over 350 skulls of adult specimens covering all currently recognized species with representatives from most of the various regions they inhabit. As predicted, up to 98% of morphological variation can be explained by allometric scaling in a continuous gradient of size. However, many layers of interpretation were uncovered by detailed analysis. Residual variation primarily revealed differential bite performance and hence subtly different predatory capabilities for a given size. Species polygons drawn on the morphospace showed interesting patterns of non-overlap between sister species and within larger monophyletic groups based on body size discontinuity, and differences that emerged in association with dominant habits (arboreality, nocturnality) and biome occupation when morphofunctional overlap did occur. All sources of variation characteristically nested within major biogeographic regions of the Wold. Almost three quarters of the overall morphofunctional variation correlated with membership to six clades of felids, particularly pantherine groups, the Puma lineage, the Leopardus lineage, and a major, primarily Old-World clade inclusive of the domestic cat. Thus, a strong historical component was found to influence the morphospace configuration based on body size and possibly also the coexistence of different species of felids at a global scale.