Taxonomic relationships among red tree voles (Phenacomys longicaudus longicaudus, P. l. silvicola), the Sonoma tree vole (P. pomo), the white-footed vole (P. albipes), and the heather vole (P. intermedius) were examined using 664 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Results indicate specific differences among red tree voles, Sonoma tree voles, white-footed voles, and heather voles, but no clear difference between the 2 Oregon subspecies of red tree voles (P. l. longicaudus and P. l. silvicola). Our data further indicated a close relationship between tree voles and albipes, validating inclusion of albipes in the subgenus Arborimus. These 3 congeners shared a closer relationship to P. intermedius than to other arvicolids. A moderate association between porno and albipes was indicated by maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining phylogenetic analyses. Molecular clock estimates suggest a Pleistocene radiation of the Arborimus clade, which is concordant with pulses of diversification observed in other murid rodents. The generic rank of Arborimus is subject to interpretation of data.
Additional publication details
Taxonomic relationships among Phenacomys voles as inferred by cytochrome b