Holarctic Marmots as a factor of Biodiversity.
Rumiantsev V.Yu;, Nikol'skii A.A. & Brandler O.V. eds.,
Abstracts, 3d Conference on Marmots (Cheboksary, Russia, 25-30 August 1997),
Moscow ABF 1997, 216p. : 130.


G.G. Boyeskorov*, E.I. Zholnerovskaya**, N.N. Vorontsov***, E.A. Lyapunova***

* Mammoth museum, Yakutsk;
** Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals Siberian Branch of RAS, Novosibirsk;
*** Institute of Developmental Biology RAS, Moscow, Russia

Three subspecies of Marmota camtschatica have separated areas. There are significant differences in morphology, immunogenetics and in sound signalization between them.

We have studied the morphological and immunological features of M. camtschatica subspecies. By their skull size the most differences were found between the Kamtchatka subspecies and the Barguzin one. Most of their dimensions are not transgressed. M. c. bungei has an intermediate position between the latter ones. A heterogeneity of this subspecies is revealed: the marmots from Kharaulakh mountains and Verkhoyanskie mountains have reliable differences in many skull dimensions.
Besides, we found some differences in the shapes of incisive and choanal foramina between these subspecies. The most differences found between M. c. camtschatica and M. c. doppelmayeri.
Antigenic variability of the plasma proteins of all the three M. camtschatica subspecies were studied by immunodiffusion method using 5 rabbit anti-serums and collection of almost all the Palearctic marmots anti-serums. A series of absorptions was carried out which allowed to reveal 5 main types of precipitation lines distribution in the reactions with the black-capped marmots. In the majority of absorption numbers (9 from 27) the lines presence in the reactions with Barguzin marmots and Kamtchatka ones. But the lines are absent with marmots from Yakutia. In 8 absorptions the lines were found only in the reactions with the Barguzin marmots. In 5 absorptions the precipitation lines are formed by all the black-capped marmots exept the Yakutian ones from Southern Verkhoyanie. In 3 cases the lines absent only in the reactions with Kamtshatka subspecies. There is no precipitation line only in 2 absorptions in the reaction with Yakutian marmots from Kharaulakh mnts. These data let us make a conclusion that there are clear immunogenetic differences between all the 3 subspecies as well as between 2 geographical forms of Yakutian marmots. The most similarity with Palearctic marmots were found in Barguzin marmots - in summary they formed 27 precipitation lines in all the absorptions. In Kamtchatka marmots the least similarity with Palearctic marmots was found - they formed 16 precipitation lines. Yakutian marmots are mostly diverged from Palearctic ones but to a different extent. They formed only 5 (South Verkhoyanskie) and 2 (Kharaulakh) precipitation lines.

So, the numerous data testify the presence of high level of divergence among M. camtschatica: the Kamtchatka and Barguzin subspecies by the features totality differ on the level of separate species. M. c. bungei occupy an intermediate position between them but more closer to M. c. camtschatica. In our opinion the black-capped marmots belong to species in statu nascendi. Their situation is close to some examples of "Rassenkreise" areas: when the marginal, most diverged forms (in our case - "camtschatka" and "doppelmayeri") have the specific differences between each other and a form, which area situated between their areas ("bungei") occupy an intermediate position on some features. The black-capped marmots are most likely seemed to consider as superspecies "Marmota camtschatica".

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