Speciation in action and adaptation in subterranean mole rats: Patterns and theory

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Subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ehrenbergt superspecies in Israel represent a dynamic case of ecological speciation in action. The complex comprises 4 chromosomal species (2n = 52, 54, 58 and 60) displaying progressive stages of late chromosomal speciation. The active ecological speciation of S. ehrenbergi into increasingly arid environments was initiated by chromosomal evolution followed by genic accumulation of positive assortative mating and the concomitant evolution of a syndrome of climatically coadapted genomic adaptations at all organizational levels. S. ehrenbergi represents a pluralistic example where chromosomal and genic mutations, genetic drift, migration, isolation, and selection, all interact in producing adaptive new species associated with environmental diversity and challenges, thereby linking the mechanisms of microto macroevolution, corroborating the synthetic theory of Darwinian evolution (Eds.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-95
Number of pages31
JournalBolletino di zoologia
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1985

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
and Avigdor Beiles for their help in materializing this paper. Special deep gratitude is due to Avigdor Beiles for many stimulating conversations and arguments as well as for valuable' theoretical and practical help for improving the manuscript. This study was partly supported by grants from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation, BSF, Jerusalem, Israel, and the Israel Discount-Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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