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SPECIES Microtus (Alexandromys) clarkei

Author:Hinton, 1923.
Citation:Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 9, 11: 158.
Common Name:Clarke’s Vole
Type Locality:China, Yunnan, divide between the Kuikiang and Salween Rivers, 11,000 ft (3353 m); 28°N.
Distribution:High mountains, ca. 3300-4300 m, of W and S Yunnan (G. M. Allen, 1940; Zhang et al., 1997), SE Xizang (Feng et al., 1986, as M. millicens), SE Tibet (China) and N Burma (Ellerman, 1961; also FMNH 40960-40963).
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (nt) as Volemys clarkei.
Comments:Subgenus Alexandromys. Placed in Volemys by Zagorodnyuk (1990) as the only member of the clarkei species group, an arrangement followed by Musser and Carleton (1993) and Pavlinov et al. (1995a). Hinton (1923), however, compared M. clarkei with M. calamorum, now a synonym of M. fortis, and thought the two to be closely related, an alliance also implied by G. M. Allen (1940). Specimen examination leads us to concur: molar patterns are very similar in M. clarkei and M. fortis (see illustrations in Hinton, 1923), as are general skull conformation and body and tail proportions. In contrast to species of Volemys, M. clarkei lacks a low, smooth cranium, has smaller auditory bullae, and possesses M1-2 and m1-2 occlusal patterns like those of most other Microtus, not the configurations unique to Volemys (see that account). Although morphologically close to M. fortis, both Hinton’s (1923) and G. M. Allen’s (1940) comparisons indicate that M. clarkei is a separate species. Their typical ecological associations are distinctive and geographic ranges allopatric: M. clarkei in coniferous forests and alpine meadows in the high mountains of W Yunnan, N Burma, and SE Tibet; M. fortis along lowland lake shores and riverbanks, its closest occurrence in C Guizhou (Zhang et al., 1997:237, mapped and vouchered localities of the two).



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