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SPECIES Apodemus rusiges

Author:Miller, 1913.
Citation:Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., 26: 81.
Common Name:Kashmir Field Mouse
Type Locality:N India, C Kashmir ("Central Kashmir and the Pir Panjal" True, 1894).
Distribution:Himalayas in Northern Area of NE Pakistan east of Indus River Valley (Baltistan and Hazara districts; large series in USNM) and Kashmir and Jammu region of NW India (large samples in USNM, including cotypes of griseus); altitudinal range, 1980-3350 m.
Status:IUCN Lower Risk (lc).

Sylvaemus group. Endemic to the Himalayas of N Pakistan (east of the Indus Valley) and NW India. Originally described as Mus arianus griseus (True, 1894), subsequently listed as a subspecies of either A. flavicollis (Ellerman, 1941, 1961; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951) or A. sylvaticus (Corbet, 1978c; Wroughton, 1920), placed in the synonomy of A. sylvaticus (Corbet and Hill, 1992), and finally regarded as a synonym of A. sylvaticus wardi (Agrawal, 2000). Apodemus sylvaticus does not occur in the Himalayas (see that account), and wardi is a synonym of A. pallipes (see that account). The latter and A. rusiges are the only Apodemus recorded from the Himalayas of N Pakistan and NW India and their ranges broadly overlap (we have not seen samples collected from the same place). Apodemus rusiges is larger than A. pallipes and further differs in having a much longer tail relative to length of head and body (often reaching 120 mm; coequal or not as relatively long in A. pallipes), dark brownish gray upperparts (pale buffy brown to drab grayish brown), larger skull (up to 30 mm long; rarely more than 27 mm in A. pallipes) with longer rostrum, and longer molar row (3.8-4.2 mm; rarely greater than 3.8 mm in A. pallipes); also see description in Wroughton (1908b).

Apodemus flavicollis, with which rusiges had also been associated, has not been found east of the Zagros Mtns of W Iran, and has smaller average cranial dimensions but larger bullae and a conspicuously higher braincase (small bullae and low cranium in A. rusiges), buffy pectoral suffusion that extends across chest in some specimens (no pectoral markings in A. rusiges), brighter upperparts, and shorter tail relative to head and body.

Distribution described here derives from the large series in USNM. Other smaller collections examined do not have specimens from beyond that range. Ellerman (1961) identified rusiges from the Kumaun region of N India, which is farther east than the Jammu-Kashmir area and adjacent to Nepal, but without studying the specimens we cannot determine if they are A. rusiges or A. pallipes. Apodemus rusiges may not occur west of the Indus Valley in N Pakistan. The USNM surveys collected large series of A. rusiges and A. pallipes east of the deep Indus River Valley in N Pakistan, but only A. pallipes was obtained west of the Indus.




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