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GENUS Paralomys

Author:Thomas, 1926.
Citation:Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 9, 17: 315.
Type Species:Phyllotis gerbillus Thomas, 1900.
Comments:Phyllotini. Although named as a genus and early recognized as such (Cabrera, 1961; Gyldenstolpe, 1932; Pearson, 1958), Paralomys was later submerged as a subgenus of Calomys (Ellerman, 1941) or as a subgenus or full synonym of Phyllotis (Hershkovitz, 1962; Osgood, 1947; Pearson and Patton, 1976). Uncertainty over its monophyletic union with those species and taxonomic rank has been revived by broad phylogenetic studies of morphological characters that suggest the distant relationship of gerbillus and amicus to other Phyllotis (Braun, 1993; Steppan, 1995). Braun (1993) elevated Paralomys to its former generic status, but Steppan (1995) reservedly maintained it as a synonym for want of strongly supported cladistic structure and demonstable monophyly of gerbillus amicus in the various trees generated (also see Steppan and Sullivan, 2000). Compared with other Phyllotis, we are impressed by the very brachyodont molars of gerbillus; their more cuspidate construction, somewhat resembling Eligmodontia more than Phyllotis, as remarked by Thomas (1926a); the small size of the m1 anteroconid, only weakly demarcated from the metaconid; along with other traits as enumerated by Braun (1993). According to such characters, and following Thomas (1926a), we view amicus as more closely related to other Phyllotis, an interpretation supported by phylogenetic analysis of abbreviated cytochrome b sequences (Spotorno et al., 2001). Further investigation using other information sources is urged to clarify relationships among gerbillus, those small northern species of Phyllotis, and other brachyodont phyllotines such as Calomys and Eligmodontia.


SPECIES gerbillus


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