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GENUS Calomyscus

Author:Thomas, 1905.
Citation:Abstr. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1905(24): 23.
Type Species:Calomyscus bailwardi Thomas, 1905.

Although several taxa were originally described as species, Calomyscus was long considered monotypic (Ellerman, 1941, 1961; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951; Peshev, 1991). Character variation in the genus was concisely summarized by Corbet (1978c:89): "There is considerable variation in colour, size and proportions but this seems to form a mosaic pattern and it seems unlikely that any major, discrete regional groups can be recognized." However, Vorontsov et al. (1979) comprehensively revised the genus and treated most former subspecies of C. bailwardi as separate species. The morphological and geographic integrity of some has been subsequently tested with additional chromosomal data (Graphodatsky et al., 2000; Malikov et al., 1999; Meyer and Malikov, 1995, 2000), mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences (Morshed and Patton, 2002), comparative postnatal growth and development (Meyer and Malikov, 1996), and multivariate analyses of cranial and dental measurements (Lebedev et al., 1998). While much research has focused on the geographical distribution of different chromosomal morphologies and their taxonomic significance (summarized in Graphodatsky et al., 2000), the multivariate analysis by Lebedev et al. (1998) demonstrated distinct morphological clusters that correspond to the karyotypic differences. More integrative studies of this kind are required to better understand species diversity and geographic distributions.

All species occupy well drained, barren, rocky habitats in foothills and mountains (Malikov et al., 1999; Morshed and Patton, 2002), as is depicted in the descriptions and photographs of collection localities for AMNH and FMNH specimens from Iran and Afghanistan (Goodwin, 1938; Hassinger, 1968; Lay, 1967). Populations appear to be patchily distributed and some are geographically isolated, "which promotes the effect of random genetic drift and may be an important factor of rapid karyotype evolution" (Graphodatsky et al., 2000:303). Natural hybridization between populations with very different karyotypes seems usual in Calomyscus (see account of C. elburzensis) and no unequivocal evidence suggests that chromosomal change is responsible for speciation in the populations studied (Graphodatsky et al., 2000). Modern geographic range of the genus (SW Syria, S Caucusus, Iran, S Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and W Pakistan) is a remnant of a broader distribution that in the late Miocene extended as far west as Spain (see Agusti, 1989; Wessels, 1998, 1999).



SPECIES bailwardi

SPECIES baluchi

SPECIES elburzensis

SPECIES grandis

SPECIES hotsoni

SPECIES mystax

SPECIES tsolovi

SPECIES urartensis


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