Mammal Species of the World Logo



GENUS Pogonomys

Author:Milne-Edwards, 1877.
Citation:C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, 85: 1081.
Type Species:Mus (Pogonomys) macrourus Milne-Edwards, 1877.

PogonomysDivision. Member of the New Guinea and Australian Old Endemics (Musser, 1981c). Analysis of immunological distances by Watts and Baverstock (1994a) indicated Pogonomys to be related to Chiruromys, Anisomys, Coccymys, Hyomys, and possibly Mallomys. Tate’s (1936) inclusion of Pogonomys (with Chiruromys as a subgenus) in the Phloeomyinae along with Chiropodomys, Crateromys, Lenomys, Mallomys, and Phloeomys (followed by Simpson, 1945) has no merit except for the link with Mallomys (Ellerman, 1949a; our research). A chromosomal and morphometric study, which separated species of Pogonomys from those of Chiruromys, was offered by Dennis and Menzies (1979). Additional chromosomal data reported by Donnellan (1987). Pogonomys fergussoniensis is endemic to the D’Entrecasteaux Isls; all other species are recorded only from mainland localities on New Guinea and Australia.

We list five species of Pogonomys, another undescribed species is endemic to the Snow Mtns in Prov. of Papua (= Irian Jaya) (Musser and Lunde, in ms.), and there is possibly a seventh that has yet to be named occurring in NE coastal Queensland (in rainforests of Cape York Peninsula and farther south in the wet tropics between Cooktown and Townsville; Watts and Aslin, 1981, and Winter and Whitford, 1995). Mahoney and Richardson (1988:170) catalogued taxonomic, distributional, and biological references for the Australian sample, which was identifed as P. mollipilosus by Watts and Aslin (1981) and reviewed under that name by Winter and Whitford (1995). The holotype of mollipilosus, however, was obtained near Daru on the south coast of the Trans-Fly region of S New Guinea and is an example of P. macrourus, which is known only from mainland New Guinea (see account of that species). The Australian Pogonomys has a much larger body and longer tail than does P. macrourus (compare measurements for the Australian sample listed in Winter and Whitford, 1995:643, with those of New Guinea P. macrourus given by Flannery, 1995a), dark brownish gray upperparts and pure white underparts (bright reddish brown dorsal fur in P. macrourus), and does not appear to represent P. macrourus. Its body size, tail length, and fur coloration recall the New Guinea P. loriae, a generally montane inhabitant (see account of that species), but it averages smaller in those external dimensions (contrast measurements listed by Winter and Whitford with those for P. loriae presented by Flannery, 1995a:316). Furthermore, it seems biogeographically implausable that P. loriae also occurs in NE Queensland. No other species of nonvolant mammal that is endemic to the Australian-New Guinea region exhibits such a distribution. The typically Australian species that also occur in New Guinea are known only from the Trans-Fly region, not the Central Cordillera or outlying mountain ranges (Norris and Musser, 2001). The Australian Pogonomys is most likely a separate species from the New Guinea representatives, and its alliance needs to be determined by careful comparison with samples of P. macrourus and P. loriae; at that time perhaps the holotype of mollipilosus should be reexamined. We are satisfied that it represents P. macrourus (as is explained in the account of that species), but Dennis and Menzies (1979:322) were not as sure and cautioned that "The possibility that mollipilosus is an Australian species occurring in New Guinea only in the lower Fly River region cannot be ignored."



SPECIES championi

SPECIES fergussoniensis

SPECIES loriae

SPECIES macrourus

SPECIES sylvestris


  Bucknell Home Page   Biology Department Home Page


©Bucknell Univesity All Rights Reserved
Comments and questions to