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SPECIES Myospalax psilurus

Author:Milne-Edwards, 1874.
Citation:Rech. Hist. Nat. Mammifères: 126.
Common Name:North China Zokor
Type Locality:China, Chihli (=Hebei), south of Beijing.
Distribution:Agricultural fields and grasslands from NE and C China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Henan, N Shaanxi, Ningxia, N Gansu, and Anhui; see Zhang et al., 1997) to SE Mongolia (Sokolov and Orlov, 1980), and adjacent parts of Russia in the Amur region.
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (nt) as M. epsilanus, Lower Risk (lc) as M. psilurus.
Comments:M. psilurus species group. Sole member of group, which is defined, except for rootless hypsodonty, by retention of the greatest number of primitive traits of any Myospalax studied by Lawrence (1991). The status of the taxon epsilanus (type locality, N Manchuria, Khingan Mtns, 3400 ft) has been variously interpreted. It was described as a species (Thomas, 1912b) but subsequently included in M. myospalax (Corbet, 1978c) or in M. psilurus (Ellerman, 1941; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951; Gromov and Erbajeva, 1995; Ognev, 1947). Lawrence (1991) recognized epsilanus as a separate species, the most primitive of the M. myospalax species group, which also includes Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil species. Her viewpoint has been incorporated into mammalian checklists (Musser and Carleton, 1993; Pavlinov and Rossolimo, 1998; Pavlinov et al., 1995a; Wang, 2003), but not all Chinese researchers have discriminated the two (Zhang et al., 1997; Zheng, 1994). Both Thomas (1912c) and Ognev (1947) noted morphological traits distinguishing epsilanus from psilurus, but Ognev did not regard them as persuasive specific differences; furthermore, the characters used by Lawrence (1991) to separate the two are qualitative in nature and may reflect individual or geographic variation. Until a more rigorous revision and documentation of geographic variation are provided to illuminate the significance of the contrasting features recorded by Ognev (1947) and Lawrence (1991), we follow Ognev’s arrangement. See account of M. aspalax for chromosomal contrasts.



    epsilanus Thomas, 1912
    spilurus (Trouessart, 1897)

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