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SPECIES Typhlomys cinereus

Author:Milne-Edwards, 1877.
Citation:Bull. Sci. Soc. Philom. Paris, ser. 6, 12: 9 [1877].
Common Name:Soft-furred Tree Mouse
Type Locality:China, W Fujian.
Distribution:Montane forests in mountains of S China (S Shaanxi, SE Gansu, W Sichuan, SW Hubei, SW Yunnan, Guizhou, Chongqing, Guangxi, W Hunan, Fujian, Jiangxi, W Zhejiang, and S Anhui) and NW Vietnam (northwest of the Red River); see G. M. Allen (1940 and references cited therein), Osgood (1932), Liu et al. (1985), Wang et al. (1996), Wang (2003), Wu and Wang (1984), Zhang et al. (1997).
Status:IUCN – Critically Endangered as T. chapensis (but see below), Lower Risk (lc) as T. cinereus.

Since G. M. Allen’s (1940) monograph, which provided a good description of the species and its geographic range as then known, the number of specimens identified as T. cinereus and its distribution in S China have increased dramatically (Wang et al., 1996). The new material has substantiated considerable geographic variation in pelage coloration and morphometric traits (Corbet and Hill, 1992; Wang et al., 1996; Wu and Wang, 1984), and led to the description of three new Chinese taxa as subspecies (Wang, 2003; Wang et al., 1996; Wu and Wang, 1984).

The species also occurs in NW Vietnam, where it was originally described as a distinctive subspecies of T. cinereus (chapensis Osgood, 1932). Based on study of older museum series, Musser and Carleton (1993) treated chapensis as a species because of its larger size (noted by Osgood), dark hind feet, and dark buffy underparts (grayish white in cinereus), which together distinguish it from typical cinereus in Fujian. With the improved samples and expanded geographic representation now at hand, the Vietnam specimens have been recently interpreted as falling within the variation that defines a single species, T. cinereus, with all five species-group taxa retained as subspecies (Wang et al., 1996). According to the morphometric results of Wang et al. (1996), populations of chapensis and guangxiensis are phenetically most alike, clustering apart from samples representing the other three subspecies. All populations are montane, and those in the southern portion of the range tend to be geographic outliers from the northern core of the species distribution (see Wang et al., 1996:61). Significance of the morphometric and chromatic variation described should now be tested by other data sources to confirm the hypothesis of a single species.




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