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SPECIES Mus (Mus) famulus

Author:Bonhote, 1898.
Citation:J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., 12: 99.
Common Name:Servant Mouse
Type Locality:S India, Tamil Nadu, Nilgiri Hills, Coonoor, 5000 ft (1524 m).
Distribution:An Indian endemic recorded only from the Western Ghats (= Sahyadris) in tropical evergreen rain forest covering the Nilgiri Hills in SW peninsular India, about 1500 m (Agrawal, 2000; Corbet and Hill, 1992).
Status:IUCN – Endangered.
Comments:Subgenus Mus. Revised by J. T. Marshall, Jr. (1977b); reviewed by Agrawal (2000) and Corbet and Hill (1992). Originally considered a member of subgenus Coelomys along with M. vulcani, M. crociduroides, M. mayori, and M. pahari (J. T. Marshall, Jr., 1977b [Marshall acknowledges his mistake and now supports the subgeneric allocation identified here; in litt., 2004). However, recent analyses of morphological traits, DNA/DNA hybridization, and mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequences indicates close relationship with European (M. spicilegus, M. spretus, and M. musculus) and Asian (M. cervicolor, M. cookii, and M. caroli) clades within subgenus Mus (Chevret et al., 2003; Guénet and Bonhomme, 2003); molecular data place M. famulus as sister to first M. fragilicauda and then the European clade (see review by Guénet and Bonhomme, 2003), but morphology nests it within the Asian clade. The murine Vandeleuria nilagirica is also recorded only from the Nilgiri Hills; Rattus satarae and the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) occur there also but have a more extensive range northward in the Western Ghats to which they are endemic.
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