Mammal Species of the World Logo


HOME --> CLASS MAMMALIA  --> ORDER RODENTIA  --> SUBORDER SCIUROMORPHA  --> FAMILY Gliridae  --> SUBFAMILY Graphiurinae  --> GENUS Graphiurus  --> SUBGENUS Graphiurus

SPECIES Graphiurus (Graphiurus) murinus

Author:Desmarest, 1822.
Citation:Mammalogie, in Encyclop. Méth., 2((Suppl.)): 542.
Common Name:Forest African Dormouse
Type Locality:South Africa, Cape of Good Hope
Distribution:C, E and Southern Africa: E Dem. Rep. Congo (Rahm and Christiaensen, 1963; Verschuren, 1987–Parc National des Virunga), Uganda (Clausnitzer and Kityo, 2001; Delany, 1975), Rwanda (Monfort, 1992), Burundi, Ethiopia (Corbet and Yalden, 1972; Yalden et al., 1996), Kenya (Hollister, 1919), Tanzania (Grimshaw et al., 1995; Stanley et al., 1998, 2000; Swynnerton and Hayman, 1951), Malawi (Ansell and Dowsett, 1988), Mozambique (Smithers and Lobão Tello, 1976), Zambia (Ansell, 1974, as Graphiurus sp.; 1978), Zimbabwe (Smithers and Wilson, 1979), South Africa (Kryštufek et al., 2004a; Lynch 1989; Rautenbach, 1982; Roberts, 1951; Taylor, 1998) (for Southern Africa see de Graaff, 1981; Smithers, 1983). In some of these regional works, G. microtis is included in G. murinus; thus the mapped localities and natural history data are a composite for both species.
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (lc).

Subgenus Graphiurus. The synonyms included here under G. murinus represent populations inhabiting forests (predominantly on plateaus and mountains) in C, E and Southern Africa. As with the G. microtis group, significant variation in pelage color and skull morphology exists among populations of the G. murinus group, and it is likely that more than one species comprises this group. The selindensis and collaris populations are distinctive, as are populations from Rwanda and Burundi, and several populations from South Africa. Three different karyotypes were found in the G. murinus species group in Southern Africa (Dippenaar et al., 1983).  Furthermore, Kryštufek et al. (2004a) reported that two South African samples, one from lowland riverine forest and the other from Afromontane forest, had the same karyotypes but could be clearly separated by discriminant function analyses of cranial and dental measurements. These studies provide examples reflecting the complexity of relationships among populations now allocated to G. murinus.

In Dem. Rep. Congo, G. christyi (which is probably a close relative of G. murinus) and G. lorraineus occur sympatrically, and the two are easily distinguished (Holden, 1996b). Graphiurus murinus and G. lorraineus are not sympatric; in SC Africa, some plateau and montane populations of G. murinus (e.g., collaris, selindensis, and southern populations of cf. saturatus) approach G. lorraineus in size and pelage color. The skull of G. lorraineus is generally smaller, has a wider interorbit and blunt rostrum as compared with G. murinus; G. johnstoni exhibits these characters and appears closely related to G. lorraineus. Careful systematic revision and comparisons of G. murinus and G. lorraineus is required; the G. murinus revision should also include comprehensive comparisons with G. microtis.

A specimen from the Zambian Nyika plateau (BMNH 66.875) identified by Ingles (1965) as G. johnstoni, by Ansell (1974) as G. sp., and by Ansell and Dowsett (1988) as G. murinus subsp., morphologically most closely resembles the Ruwenzori population cf. soleatus. Specimens reported as G. cf. murinus from Swaziland and NE South Africa by Taylor et al. (1994b) probably represent a population of G. microtis, based on their descriptions of cranial and skin characters. The holotype of subrufus is lost, but another specimen I examined (in ZMB) matching its description was also collected from Tanga, NE Tanzania in 1898, and could be designated as a neotype for subrufus. This additional specimen represents the G. murinus species group. Reviewed by Rossolimo et al. (2001), although that species account is a composite that includes data for both G. murinus and G. microtis (see synonyms listed therein). Reviewed by Holden (In Press). See comments under G. microtis.




    alticola (Roberts, 1929)
    cineraceus (Ruppell, 1842)
    cinerascens (Schinz, 1845)
    collaris (Allen and Loveridge, 1933)
    erythrobronchus (Smith, 1829)
    griseus G. M. Allen, 1912
    isolatus Heller, 1912
    lalandianus (Schinz, 1825)
    johnstoni Heller, 1912
    raptor Dollman, 1910
    saturatus Dollman, 1910
    selindensis (Roberts, 1937)
    soleatus Thomas and Wroughton, 1910
    subrufus (Neumann, 1900)
    vulcanicus Lönnberg and Gyldenstolpe, 1925
    zuluensis (Roberts, 1931)

  Bucknell Home Page   Biology Department Home Page


©Bucknell Univesity All Rights Reserved
Comments and questions to