Geometric morphometrics was applied on the mandible of the Iberian desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, to determine for the first time possible sexual and post-weaning shape variation of this structure in a talpid species. Analyses were complemented by evaluating the effect of sex and age on size. The sample consisted of collection specimens from locations in the Cantabrian Mountains (northern Spain). Desmans were grouped into four relative age classes according to tooth wear. The shape of the internal side of the mandible was represented by 15 two-dimensional landmarks. Once young desmans leave the nest there is no significant variation in the form (size and shape) of the mandible. Thus, possible osseous changes and tooth abrasion derived from ageing do not produce obvious variation in mandible form. Mandible shape was significantly correlated with mandible size, resulting in a range of shapes that varies from a slender to a robust morphology. This variation was independent of geographic factors. Since the effect of non-heritable environmental influences on mandible size and shape was negligible, it can be considered that the mandible form of post-weaned desmans is the direct product of interactions between different developmental processes. © 2009 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.
- Galemys pyrenaicus
- Geometric morphometrics