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SPECIES Acomys (Acomys) cineraceus

Author:Heuglin, 1877.
Citation:Reise in Nordost-Afrika, 2: 70.
Common Name:Gray Spiny Mouse
Type Locality:EC Sudan, "Eastern Sennaar and about Kalabat" (G. M. Allen, 1939).
Distribution:C and S Sudan, N Uganda, C and S Ethiopia (specimens in USNM), and Djibouti (Pearch et al., 2001); distributional limits unresolved.
Status:IUCN Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:Subgenus Acomys. Formerly included in A. cahirinus (F. Petter, 1983; Setzer, 1975), but Dieterlen (in litt.) noted that A. cineraceus is a distinct species and one of four (A. wilsoni, A. percivali, and A. cahirinus) occurring in Sudan. Separation of cineraceus from A. cahirinus is supported by chromosomal data (2n = 48 or 50 for cineraceus, 2n = 36 for cahirinus; Kunze et al., 1999b) and analysis of pericentric satellite DNA (Kunze et al., 1999a). F. Petter (1983) recognized witherbyi as a species, and reported that it coexists with a member of the cahirinus-dimidiatus complex in Sudan. Both F. Petter (1983) and Denys et al. (1994) did not associate lowei (W Sudan) with A. cineraceus, but with A. mullah (see that account). In morphology, A. cineraceus closely resembles A. kempi (our study of specimens), which ranges from S Ethiopia and Somalia to NW Tanzania; systematic revision would reveal whether each is a species, or simply represents a population of one species. Limits of A. cineraceuss geographic range is unresolved, especially its W segment. Musser and Carleton (1993) extended the distribution west to Burkina Faso and Ghana, but at least two species occupy that wide range west of Sudan, Acomys airensis (2n = 40 to 46) and A. johannis (2n = 66 or 68); see those accounts. From their study of external and dental morphology of holotypes included in A. cineraceus, Denys et al. (1994:225) noted their "very superficial comparison shows that probably different species have been grouped together, and that there is a need for a revision of this group." We agree. For synonyms see Dieterlen (in litt.).
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Synonyms:

    cinerascens Heuglin, 1877
    hawashensis Frick, 1914
    hystrella Heller, 1911
    intermedius Wettstein, 1916
    johannis Thomas, 1912
    lowei Setzer, 1956
    witherbyi De Winton, 1901

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