Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Studies on populations on Potorous Desmarest (Marsupialia) I.Morphological variation

PG Johnston and GB Sharman

Australian Journal of Zoology 24(4) 573 - 588
Published: 1976


Considerable morphological variation exists in potoroos (genus Potorous) from south-eastern and south-western Australia. This has resulted in as many as five species being named by various workers. Univariate morphometric analyses on potoroos other than P. platyops revealed longitudinal clinal variation in body size across northern Tasmania and latitudinal clinal variation in muzzle proportions in populations from southern Queensland to southern Tasmania. Two multivariate techniques, the Penrose measure of distance and canonical analysis, based on 10 skull and dental measurements, supported the univariate analyses and also suggested the occurrence of clinal variation. On morphological grounds, it was not possible to distinguish separate taxa from south-eastern or south-western Australia. It is concluded that apart from P. platyops all potoroos belong to a single highly variable species, P. tridactylus.

© CSIRO 1976

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