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GENUS Lemmiscus

Author:Thomas, 1912.
Citation:Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 8, 9: 401.
Type Species:Arvicola curtata Cope, 1868.
Comments:Arvicolini. Named as a subgenus of Lagurus to segregate New World sagebrush voles from Old World steppe voles. Davis (1939) underscored the morphological separation between New and Old World forms and raised Lemmiscus to a genus, a view endorsed by Carleton’s (1981) study of gastric anatomy. Subsequent faunal studies and checklists have variously listed Lemmiscus as a genus (Carleton and Musser, 1984; Corbet and Hill, 1991; Gromov and Polyakov, 1977; Musser and Carleton, 1993) or as a subgenus of Lagurus (Hall, 1981; Honacki et al., 1982). Certain morphological traits associate Lemmiscus with Microtus (Carleton, 1981; Davis, 1939), a relationship supported by phylogenetic evaluation of long repetitive DNA segments (Modi, 1996); chromosomal banding patterns provided little resolution of its affinity (Modi, 1987). Some paleontologists continue to view New World sagebrush voles as lagurines that migrated to North America in the Pleistocene (Chaline, 1985; Chaline et al., 1999); Repenning (1992), however, considered the dental similarities between Lemmiscus and Microtus sufficiently impressive to warrant their joint placement in a tribe Microtini. Taxonomic representation necessary to discriminate the migration scenario from autochthonous differentiation in the New World has yet to be realized in recent molecular studies.
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SPECIES curtatus


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