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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

The importance of genetic tools when studying the distribution of rare and elusive species illustrated by the Kam dwarf hamster

Esson, Carol; Michaux, Johan; Johansson, Orjan; Malmsten, Jonas; Lkhagvajav, Purevjav; Samelius, Gustaf


Detailed information on the distribution and abundance of animals is often difficult to establish for rare and elusive species. Here we report on genetic analyses confirming the presence of the Kam dwarf hamster 500 km north of its known distribution in China where it was earlier thought to be endemic. Our finding was made during a study on disease ecology in southern Mongolia and illustrates the benefit of genetic approaches when studying rare and elusive species or species that are either difficult to identify or do not elicit public or scientific attention. We suggest that larger ranges than currently known may be a common pattern for a number of rare and elusive species because of ineffective survey methods and lack of sampling effort. (c) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Conservation; Methodology; Species distribution; Rare and elusive species

Published in

Global Ecology and Conservation
2017, Volume: 12, pages: 166-169