Great Basin Naturalist


Geographic and nongeographic variation in morphology was examined in Thomomys townsendii. A univariate analysis of external and cranial characters from a large population sample (66 adults; fusion of cranial sutures used as aging criteria) was used to assess variation among three adult age classes and between sexes. Only minor variation is apparent among age classes; however, sexual dimorphism is pronounced. Univariate and multivariate techniques were used to analyze external and cranial measurements and pelage characters for adults throughout the species range. These analyses show little to support the seven subspecific designations recognized by Davis (1937). The general pattern is one of homogeneity throughout the range ofThomomys townsendii. With the possible exception of T. t. nevadensis samples, current subspecies are not defined as morphological units. In fact, differentiation is found among populations within some subspecies. The most apparent pattern seen in these analyses is the divergence between the Humboldt River (including Honey Lake Valley samples) and Snake River systems. These results will be considered with those of a companion paper on the genetic variation in this species to more adequately assess the patterns of differentiation in Thomomys townsendii.