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SPECIES Notomys mordax

Author:Thomas, 1922.
Citation:Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 9, 9: 317.
Common Name:Darling Downs Hopping Mouse
Type Locality:Australia, SE Queensland, Darling Downs.
Distribution:Known only from the type locality.
Status:IUCN Extinct.
Comments:Still represented only by the the skull of the holotype (Mahoney, 1977). Apparently extinct (Mahoney and Richardson, 1988; Watts, 1995d; Watts and Aslin, 1981). Provenance of the skull was questioned by Mack (1961), but Mahoney (1977) claimed there were no adequate reasons for doubting that it came from Darling Downs and considered N. mordax a valid species closely related to N. mitchelli. Watts and Aslin (1981:121) remarked that "it is not possible to be sure that this one skull really represents a distinct species, or whether it is simply that of a large specimen of Mitchell's hopping-mouse." K. Aplin (in litt., 2004) wrote that a subfossil sample obtained recently from near Coonabarabran (NE New South Wales) contains good material of a Notomys similar to N. mitchelli from W Victoria, but with slightly smaller teeth (N. mitchelli has smaller molars than exhibited by the larger-toothed N. mordax; Mahoney, 1977). Habitat around the site is not dissimilar to that of Darling Downs. Various possibilities are being considered: 1) that the Coonabarabran material is referable to mordax, with the holotype of mordax being an individual with unusually large teeth; 2) that two species of Notomys were found in this wider region, namely mordax and a smaller, mitchelli like taxon; and 3) that all of the N New South Wales and SE Queensland Notomys, including the holotype of mordax, are referable to N. mitchelli. Aplin also noted a possible recent sight record of a live hopping mouse from the Pilliga region (NE New South Wales); this record is now being seriously investigated by personnel of the New South Wales National Parks Service.
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