No recent temporal changes in body size of three Danish rodents

Yoram Yom-Tov*, Shlomith Yom-Tov, Thomas Secher Jensen, Hans Baagoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We used museum collections to study temporal trends of possible changes in skull size, body mass and body length in three species of rodents in Denmark. Skulls of adult Microtus agrestis, Apodemus flavicollis and Apodemus sylvaticus, collected between 1895 and 2004, 1847 and 2002, and 1895 and 2002, respectively, were measured and data on body mass and length were taken from the museum registers. Principal component (PC) analysis was used to combine data of the four skull measurements taken. We tested the relationship of sex, latitude, longitude, month and year of collection to PC1 by a General Linear Model (GLM). PC1, body length and body mass of M. agrestis significantly increased from west to east. In addition, PC1, body mass and body length of M. agrestis declined from summer (August) through autumn and winter to spring (March), probably due to the decline in food availability towards winter. None of the other factors examined (sex, latitude and year) were significantly related to body size. PC1 of A. flavicollis and A. sylvaticus was not significantly related to any of the environmental factors examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalActa Theriologica
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Funding

FundersFunder number
European Commission

    Keywords

    • Body size changes
    • Denmark
    • Rodents

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