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SPECIES Grammomys cometes

Author:Thomas and Wroughton, 1908.
Citation:Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1908: 549.
Common Name:Mozambique Grammomys
Type Locality:Mozambique, Inhambane.
Distribution:From Pirie Forest (NW of King William's Town) in SE Eastern Cape Province of South Africa north through KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces of that country into E Zimbabwe (Melsetter and Umtali districts) and Mozambique south of the Zambezi River (de Graaff, 1981, 1997h; Meester et al., 1986; Skinner and Smithers, 1990; Smither and Tello, 1976); an inhabitant of the savanna woodland biome in southern Africa (Mugo et al., 1995).
Status:IUCN Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:The geographic range of G. cometes has been outlined as extending north from South Africa through East Africa to S Sudan (Hutterer and Dieterlen, 1984), but pending revisionary study of the genus we restrict it to the E segment of the Southern African Subregion south of the Zambezi River (similar to the range mapped by Skinner and Smithers, 1990:225), and consider samples north of that river to be G. ibeanus (see that account). We studied the holotype of cometes and the other specimens in the type series noted by Thomas and Wroughton (1908); these animals are on average larger and have more highly inflated bullae than do those from north of the Zambesi River. Ansell (1978) and Ansell and Dowsett (1988) assigned samples from Zambia and Malawi to cometes, but were also impressed with the chromatic and morphological contrast between them and the holotype from Inhambane. The specimen from the Pirie Forest (in AMNH) represents a range extension south of KwaZulu-Natal. That population was discussed by Taylor (1998) and Taylor et al. (1994a), who noted sympatry between G. cometes and G. dolichurus at some localities and at others a gradation of the diagnostic traits usually used to distinguish the two species. Whether those characters have limited discriminatory use in these areas or hybridization is occurring is unclear; the two species require taxonomic study in that part of southern Africa.
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Offspring:

Synonyms:

    silindensis Roberts, 1938

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