Cranial morphological homogeneity in two subspecies of water deer in China and Korea.

The Journal of veterinary medical science / the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science

PubMedID: 26051000

Kim YK, Koyabu D, Lee H, Kimura J. Cranial morphological homogeneity in two subspecies of water deer in China and Korea. J Vet Med Sci. 2015;.
The water deer (Hydropotes inermis) has conventionally been classified into two subspecies according to geographic distribution and pelage color pattern: H. i. inermis from China and H. i. argyropus from Korea. However, the results of a recent molecular study have called this into question. To further reappraise this classification, we examined morphological variation in craniodental measurements of these 2 subspecies. RESULTS
of univariate and multivariate analyses demonstrated that these 2 subspecies are not well-differentiated, suggesting that individuals of the 2 populations share common morphological traits.Despite the distribution of the subspecies at different latitudes, no clear morphocline was detected, suggesting that Bergmann's rule does not apply in this case. Discriminant analysis indicated that the characteristics of individuals are shared by both populations, suggesting that not all individuals can be assigned to their original population.

RESULTS
of principal component analysis showed that the two populations shared more than 75% of individuals, congruent with the "75% rule" of subspecies classification.In both the neighbor-joining and unweighted pair group methods with arithmetic mean cluster analyses, specimens of H. i. argyropus and H. i. inermis were highly mixed within the cladograms. These results suggest that the overall morphological variation in the 2 subspecies overlaps considerably and that there is no coherent craniofacial difference between the 2 groups. The present findings combined with prior observations from molecular biogeography point out that the taxonomic division of water deer into 2 subspecies should be revisited.