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SPECIES Microtus (Microtus) socialis

Author:Pallas, 1773.
Citation:Reise Prov. Russ. Reichs., 2: 705.
Common Name:Social Vole
Type Locality:Kazakhstan, probably Gur'evsk Oblast (Gur’ev Dist.) between Volga and Ural Rivers (Kryštufek and Vohralík, 2001).
Distribution:Palearctic steppe from Dneper River and Crimea east to Lake Balkhash and NW Xinjiang in China (Zhang et al., 1997), south through Caucasus and E half of Turkey (Kizilirmak River may be W boundary; Kefelioğlu and Kryštufek, 1999; Kryštufek and Kefelioğlu, 2002) to NW Syria, Lebanon (restricted to Mt Lebanon), N Iraq, and NW Iran (Kryštufek and Kefelioğlu, 2002, mapped range in the Near East).
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (lc).

Subgenus Microtus, socialis species group (Zagorodnyuk, 1990). Subgenus Sumeriomys according to Pavlinov and Rossolimo (1987, 1998), Gromov and Polyakov (1977), Gromov and Erbajeva (1995), and Pavlinov et al. (1995a). Chromosomal data reviewed by Zima and Kral (1984a) and Golenishchev et al. (2002); Kefelioğlu and Kryštufek (1999) reported karyotypes for Turkish samples (2n and FN = 62). Harrison and Bates (1991) included guentheri and irani under M. socialis because they could not discriminate the three but provided no substantiating data (see M. guentheri and M. irani). Range of M. socialis proper has been obscured because researchers indiscriminantly lumped all voles more or less matching the description of socialis (Corbet, 1978c; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951; Harrison and Bates, 1991; Lay, 1967; Ognev, 1964); however, at least seven (M. anatolicus, M. dogramacii, M. guentheri, M. irani, M. paradoxus, M. qazvinensis, M. schidlovskii) have been separated (Golenishchev et al., 2002; Kefelioğlu and Kryštufek, 1999; Kryštufek and Kefelioğlu, 2002). Golenishchev et al. (2002) described aristovi and zaitsevi as subspecies.

Most taxonomic problems lie with populations in the Near East, where Kryštufek and Kefelioğlu (2002) have resolved species limits by using discriminant function analysis to identify M. socialis in Iran, the Caucasus, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey and to distinguish it from the "non-socialis" complex (see M. guentheri). They also considered hyrcania as an outlying population of M. socialis, but its holotype is an example of M. arvalis (see account). The holotype of gravesi and four other AMNH specimens in the type series are examples of M. socialis. Hassinger (1973) recorded M. socialis from N Afghanistan, an unlikely occurrence, but those two specimens, originally identified as M. guentheri, should be reexamined to verify the identity as that species or M. paradoxus (see account).

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    aristovi Golenishchev, 2002
    astrachanensis (Erxleben, 1777)
    binominatus Ellerman, 1941
    bogdoensis Wang and Ma, 1982
    gravesi Goodwin, 1934
    nikolajevi Ognev, 1950
    parvus Satunin, 1901
    satunini Ognev, 1924
    syriacus (Brants, 1827)
    zaitsevi Golenishchev, 2002

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