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GENUS Pseudomys

Author:Gray, 1832.
Citation:Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1832: 39.
Type Species:Pseudomys australis Gray, 1832.
Comments:

PseudomysDivision. Member of the Australian Old Endemics (Musser, 1981c), part of which is the Conilurini where Lee et al. (1981) and Baverstock (1984) placed Pseudomys. The genus is now regarded by some as part of an expanded Hydromyini (which includes Australian and New Guinea genera in our Hydromys, Uromys, and Xeromys Divisions), an "Australasian clade" defined by similarities in albumin immunology and spermatozoal structure (Watts and Baverstock, 1994a, 1995b, 1996). Taxonomic, distributional, and biological references to all species cataloged by Mahoney and Richardson (1988).

Data from several character suites have been used to estimate relationships among species of Pseudomys: anatomy of male and female reproductive tracts (Breed, 1980, 1985, 1986); phallic morphology (Lidicker and Brylski, 1987; Morrissey and Breed, 1982); spermatozoal morphology (Breed, 1983, 1984, 1997; Breed and Sarafis, 1978); electrophoretic variation (Baverstock et al., 1977a, 1981); albumin immunology (Watts et al., 1992); and chromosomes (Baverstock et al., 1977c, 1983b). Despite such different approaches, no study estimating phylogenetic relationships is available that integrates all these data with information from skins, skulls, and dentitions. Consequently, opinion still ranges from including all the distinctive species groups in one genus (Pseudomys), to allocating them to three genera (Pseudomys, Gyomys, and Leggadina), to merging Mastacomys and Leporillus with Pseudomys (see discussions in Baverstock et al., 1981; Breed, 1983; Lidicker and Brylski, 1987; Watts and Aslin, 1981; and Watts et al., 1992). Watts et al. (1992) discussed the futility of attempting to split Pseudomys and they regarded it as a single but complex genus in which results from albumin immunology comfirmed its monophyly relative to the other Australian murines except Mastacomys, which they merged with Pseudomys. In contrast, Mahoney and Richardson (1988:160) and Happold (1995) retained Mastacomys as a separate genus, a course we follow. A recently completed molecular phylogenetic study by F. Ford (James Cook University), utilizing a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear genes, provides strong evidence that Pseudomys is paraphyletic with respect to both Mastacomys and Notomys (F. Ford, in litt., 2004). Fordís phylogeny is currently being integrated with all other available morphological, cytological and immunological datasets, and with new observations on cranial and dental morphology (F. Ford and K. Aplin, in litt., 2004), to produce a new generic arrangement for this key group of Australian Old Endemics. The use of plantar pad patterns to help identify three species of Pseudomys in contrast to Mus and Rattus is described by Cooper (1993, 1994). Anatomy of mammary glands in two species is described by Griffiths and Simms (1993).

There are at least two undescribed species of Pseudomys. One (Basalt Plains Mouse) is represented by hundreds of specimens "collected from owl-roost deposits and Aboriginal middens on the basalt plains of western Victoria, particularly in lava tubes associated with dormant volcanos" (Flannery, 1995e:619). It may have survived into the nineteenth century and vanished when its natural habitat of tussock grassland was destroyed by sheep. The other is morphologically similar to but distinct from P. australis and represented by subfossils from S South Australia (Watts and Aslin, 1981); the name auritus, now listed as one of the synonyms under P. australis, may apply to this taxon (Robinson et al., 2000). Van Dyck (1997) reported another potentially undescribed living species from Queensland west of the Great Dividing Range from near Cloncurry to Camooweal. On DNA evidence, this population was found to be very close to P. johnsoni (F. Ford, in litt., 2004). Pseudomys vandyki, the earliest Australian record of Pseudomys, is represented by molars from probable late Pliocene sediments (Aplin, 2004; Godthelp, 1990).

K. Aplin (in litt., 2004) noted that many of the historically recorded species of Pseudomys declined so quickly that they are currently known from only a few museum specimens, often in poor condition and from widely scattered localities. Aplin views the current taxonomy of Pseudomys to seriously underestimate the real historic diversity, and states that the true diversity will only be revealed by a combination of 1) systematic survey of subfossil assemblages, 2) comprehensive DNA sampling of historical specimens, and 3) selective DNA sampling of subfossils to link the two.

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Offspring:

SPECIES albocinereus

SPECIES apodemoides

SPECIES australis

SPECIES bolami

SPECIES calabyi

SPECIES chapmani

SPECIES delicatulus

SPECIES desertor

SPECIES fieldi

SPECIES fumeus

SPECIES glaucus

SPECIES gouldii

SPECIES gracilicaudatus

SPECIES hermannsburgensis

SPECIES higginsi

SPECIES johnsoni

SPECIES laborifex

SPECIES nanus

SPECIES novaehollandiae

SPECIES occidentalis

SPECIES oralis

SPECIES patrius

SPECIES pilligaensis

SPECIES shortridgei

Synonyms:

    Gyomys Thomas, 1910
    Paraleporillus Martinez and Lidicker, 1971
    Thetomys Thomas, 1910

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