Off to the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho
next week to collect specimens of Tamias amoenus
cratericus for genetic work. This is a subspecies of
yellow-pine chipmunk that is found in and around Craters of the Moon
National Monument. Over the last decade, we've discovered
that its genetics and morphology appear distinct relative to the
other two chipmunks found in the region, Tamias minimus
and Tamias amoenus amoenus.
One interesting find is that the baculum, the male genital bone,
in T. a. cratericus is distinct. Since there is
strong interspecific differentiation among bacula in the 23
species of western chipmunks, distinctive bacular morphology
has been suggested to be a hallmark of reproductive isolation.
Check them out above, the scale is in mm.
Supported by the National Science Foundation.