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GENUS Dendromus

Author:Smith, 1829.
Citation:Zool. J. Lond., 4: 438.
Type Species:Dendromus typus Smith, 1829 (= Mus mesomelas Brants, 1827).

Rosevear (1969) thoroughly reviewed historical usages of generic names given in the synonymy. In his checklist of African mammals, G. M. Allen (1939) listed 29 species of Dendromus, soon after reduced to four by Bohmann’s (1942) revision. Based on morphological traits and ecological associations, Dieterlen (1971) recognized five species within the central African region. We recognize twelve based on specimen examination from North American and European museums and on literature sources; most have clear morphological and geographic characteristics, a few are heterogeneous entities and require further taxonomic revision. Chromosomal information for several species were reported by Matthey (1967a, 1970). The species have been traditionally segregated into the subgenera Poemys (hallux with a nail—D. melanotis, D. nyikae) and Dendromus (hallux bears a claw—all other species) (see Ansell, 1974b, for utility of the hallucial trait and other characters proposed to define subgenera).

The extant diversity of Dendromus in Subsaharan Africa mirrors an equal or greater radiation of extinct species. Recorded earliest from the late Miocene of S Ethiopia (Geraads, 2001); additional species uncovered in Pliocene-Pleistocene sediments in South Africa (Avery, 1995, 1998; Denys, 1994b) and East Africa (Denys, 1987a, b; Jaeger, 1979). Of the two species Denys (1994b) named from the Pliocene Langebaanweg site, southern Africa, D. darti is most closely related to living D. melanotis and D. averyi to extant D. mesomelas. Two species of Dendromus are also known outside Africa, from late Miocene sediments in the United Arab Emirates (de Bruijn, 1999; de Bruijn and Whybrow, 1994); their molars are strikingly similar to the South African species.



SPECIES insignis

SPECIES kahuziensis

SPECIES leucostomus

SPECIES lovati

SPECIES melanotis

SPECIES mesomelas

SPECIES messorius

SPECIES mystacalis

SPECIES nyasae

SPECIES nyikae


SPECIES vernayi


    Chortomys Thomas, 1916
    Dendromys J. B. Fischer, 1830
    Dendromys Smuts, 1832
    Poemys Thomas, 1916

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