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SPECIES Spalax leucodon

Author:Nordmann, 1840.
Citation:Demidoff Voy., 3: 34.
Common Name:Lesser Blind Mole Rat
Type Locality:Ukraine, near Odessa.
Distribution:From E and S Hungary through Balkan region (see Petrov, 1992), Greece (including Samothraki Isl off coast of SE Thracian Greece; Vohralík and Sofianidou, 1992a), Romania, and Bulgaria to NW Turkey (Thrace and possibly Marmara; see Kryštufek and Vohralík, 2001), to SW Ukraine just east of Dnestr River in Odessa region (see Gromov and Erbajeva, 1995; Mitchell-Jones et al., 1999; Savič, 1982b; Vorontsov, 1977b).
Status:IUCN – Vulnerable as Nannospalax leucodon.

Morphologically characterized by Topachevskii (1969) and now viewed as another superspecies based on chromosomal studies (Giagia et al., 1982; Ivanitskaya et al., 1997; Peshev, 1983; Savič, 1982b; Savič and Nevo, 1990; Savič and Soldatovič, 1977, 1979). More than 20 chromosomal forms have been uncovered (2n ranging from 38 to 62, FN between 74 and 96 (summarized in Mitchell-Jones et al., 1999, and Nevo et al., 2001). Savič (1982b) delineated six clusters that he interpreted as chromosomal species: leucodon group (with hungaricus, montanosyrmiensis, monticola, and transsylvanicus), makedonicus group, strumiciensis group (with ovchepolensis and serbicus), epiroticus (with hellenicus), turcicus group (with thracius), and montanoserbicus group (with hercegovinensis and syrmiensis). Morphological and biometric analyses by Kivanç (see reference in Savič and Nevo, 1990) indicated that S. leucodon occurs in most of Turkey (subspecies anatolicus, armeniacus, cilicicus, nehringi, and turcicus) and that S. ehrenbergi extends into SW Turkey (subspecies intermedius and kirgisorum). Savič and Nevo (1990) skeptically viewed these results and urged elucidation using chromosomal evidence. Mikes et al. (1982) analysed the pelvis of S. leucodon in the context of assessing sexual dimorphism and taxonomic differences.

Currently, most researchers view the S. leucodon superspecies as embracing S. nehringi, whether occurring only in N Turkey (Pamukoglu and Albayrak, 1996) or throughout most of the country (Butler et al., 1993; Nevo et al., 1994a, b, 1995, 2001; Savič and Nevo, 1990; Sözen et al., 1999; Suzuki et al., 1996a). Biochemical and chromosomal data do not support the conspecificity of S. leucodon and S. nehringi (Vorontsov et al., 1977b, and references therein), although specific limits of each are unresolved (Mitchell-Jones et al., 1999). We retain the two entities as separate, while acknowledging that each may represent a complex of allopatric or parapatric species and eventually lose their current geographic identity. Comprehensive taxonomic revision is needed to unravel relationships among populations of the two purported superspecies and to meaningfully delineate species boundaries. Chromosomal data from Macedonian samples and comparisons with other Macedonian populations documented by Zima et al. (1997a). See account of S. nehringi. Pleistocene occurrences of S. leucodon in Europe are summarized by Kowalski (2001).




    bulgaricus (Savic and Soldatovic, 1984)
    dolbrogeae Miller, 1903
    ehiki Petrov, 1991
    epiroticus (Savic, 1982)
    hellenicus Méhely, 1909
    hercegovinensis Méhely, 1909
    hungaricus Nehring, 1898
    ilici Petrov, 1992
    insularis Thomas, 1917
    intermedius Petrov, 1992
    makedonicus Soldatovic, 1977
    martinoi Petrov, 1971
    montanoserbicus Soldatovic, 1977
    montanosyrmiensis Soldatovic, 1977
    monticola Nehring, 1898
    ovchepolensis Soldatovic, 1977
    peloponnesiacus Ondrias, 1966
    petrovi Petrov, 1992
    rhodopiensis (Savic and Soldastovic, 1984)
    serbicus Méhely, 1909
    sofiensis (Savic and Soldatovic, 1984)
    srebarnensis (Savic and Soldatovic, 1984)
    strumiciensis Soldatovic, 1977
    syrmiensis Méhely, 1909
    thermaicus Hinton, 1920
    thessalicus Ondrias, 1966
    thracius (Savic, 1982)
    tranensis (Savic and Soldatovic, 1984)
    transsylvanicus Méhely, 1909
    turcicus Méhely, 1913

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