Genetic monitoring detects an overlooked cryptic species and reveals the diversity and distribution of three invasive Rattus congeners in South Africa.
Africa South of the Sahara, Animals, biodiversity, Cytochromes b, Cytochromes b: genetics, Introduced species, Phylogeography, Rats, Rats: classification, Rats: genetics, South Africa
South Africa's long and extensive trade activity has ensured ample opportunities for exotic species introduction. Whereas the rich biodiversity of endemic southern African fauna has been the focus of many studies, invasive vertebrates are generally overlooked despite potential impacts on biodiversity, health and agriculture. Genetic monitoring of commensal rodents in South Africa which uncovered the presence of Rattus tanezumi, a South-East Asian endemic not previously known to occur in Africa, provided the impetus for expanded studies on all invasive Rattus species present.