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SUBFAMILY Sicistinae

Author:J. A. Allen, 1901.
Citation:Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., 14: 185.

Some authors, mostly Russian (Pavlinov and Rossolimo, 1987, 1998; Pavlinov et al., 1995; Shenbrot, 1992; Shenbrot et al., 1995), use the family name Sminthidae for this group, because Brandt's (1855) supergeneric taxon Sminthi predates Sicistinae J. A. Allen, 1901a. Holden (1993) noted that the 1985 International Code of Zoological Nomenclature indicated that when two genera are united their respective type species remain the same, and the valid name of the newly formed taxon is that of the component taxon with the oldest valid name (ICZN, 1985d, article 66:125-127). Sicista Gray, 1827 predates Sminthus Nordmann, 1840, and thus Sicista is correct. Sicistinae is the valid subfamily (or family or tribe) name according to article 23 of the 1985 ICZN (p. 47). However, Article 40.2 of the 1999 ICZN states if " a family-group name was replaced before 1961 because of the synonymy of the type genus, the substitute name is to be maintained if it is in prevailing usage" (p. 47), a ruling, in our view, supporting use of Sicistinae, which has been employed (as subfamily or tribe) in a variety of major works since 1901 (Corbet, 1978c; Ellerman, 1940, 1961; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951; Klingener, 1984; Kowalski, 2001; R. A. Martin, 1994; McKenna and Bell, 1997; Miller and Gidley, 1918; Simpson, 1945; Stein, 1990; Vinogradov, 1925, 1930, 1937; Wang, 1985; Zazhigin and Lopatin, 2000a). The separation of Sicistinae from Zapodinae, suggested by Ellerman (1940), is supported by analyses of morphology (Shenbrot, 1986, 1992; Stein, 1990), chromosomes (Sokolov et al., 1987b; Vorontsov, 1969), and nuclear gene sequences (DeBry and Sagel, 2001; Jansa and Weksler, 2004; Michaux and Catzeflis, 2000; Michaux et al., 2001b).

Extant species of Sicista range through the Palaearctic of Eurasia, and the group is the only Recent remnant of an impressive extinct radiation of species and genera already present by the early Oligocene of Asia (Allosminthus, Heosminthus, Tatalsminthus, Shamosminthus, and Sinosminthus) that extended through the later Oligocene to the late Miocene of Asia (Plesiosminthus, Parasminthus, Gobiosminthus, Heterosminthus, Lophocricetus, Lophosminthus, Sibirosminthus, and Xenosminthus), and late Oligocene and early Miocene of Europe (Pleisiosminthus). Sicistinae are also recorded from late Oligocene to Early Pleistocene deposits in North America (Pleisiosminthus, Schaubeumys, Macrognathomys, Megasminthus, Miosicista, and Tyrannomys) (New and Old World records presented in various contexts in Daxner-Höck, 1999, 2001; Daxner-Höck and Wu, 2003; Huang, 1992; Hugueney and Vianey-Liaud, 1980; Korth, 1993; Lopatin and Zazhigin, 2000; R. A. Martin, 1989a; 1994; McKenna and Bell, 1997; Wang, 1985; Wang and Qiu, 2000). Heterosminthus, Lophocricetus, Lophosminthus, and Sibirosminthus are often brought together in Lophocricetinae and placed in Zapodidae (R. A. Martin, 1994; Qiu, 1985), Dipodidae (Savinov, 1970; Topachevskii et al., 1984; Zazhigin and Lopatin, 2000b, 2002; Zazhigin et al., 2002), or Cardiocraniinae (Shenbrot et al., 1995), or as a tribe (Lophocricetini) in Sicistinae (McKenna and Bell, 1997). Primisminthus and Banyuesminthus, from middle Eocene deposits of Shanxi and Henan provinces in China, possibly represent even older representatives of Sicistinae; Wang and Qiu (2000) speculated that Primisminthus may be the oldest member of an inclusive Dipodidae, and Banyuesminthus could be a sister-group to dipodids.

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GENUS Sicista

SPECIES armenica

SPECIES betulina

SPECIES caucasica

SPECIES caudata

SPECIES concolor

SPECIES kazbegica

SPECIES kluchorica

SPECIES napaea

SPECIES pseudonapaea

SPECIES severtzovi

SPECIES strandi

SPECIES subtilis

SPECIES tianshanica


    Sminthi Brandt, 1855
    Sminthinae Murray, 1866
    Sminthidae Schulze, 1890
    Sicistidae Weber, 1928
    Lophocricetinae Savinov, 1970

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