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SPECIES Dendromus melanotis

Author:Smith, 1834.
Citation:S. Afr. Quart. J., 2: 158.
Common Name:Gray African Climbing Mouse
Type Locality:South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Prov., near Port Natal (Durban).
Distribution:From South Africa (de Graaff, 1997dd; Skinner and Smithers, 1990:306; Taylor, 1998) northward in the west through Botswana (Smithers, 1971) to C Angola (Crawford-Cabral, 1998; AMNH specimens from Chitau); northward in the east through Zimbabwe (Smithers and Wilson, 1979), Mozambique (Smithers and Lobao Tello, 1976), Zambia (Ansell, 1978), Malawi (Ansell and Dowsett, 1988; Ansell, 1989), and Tanzania (Mt Kilimanjaro; Grimshaw et al., 1995; Swynnerton and Hayman, 1951) to Uganda (Delany, 1975); westward through Nigeria and Ghana (Grubb et al., 1998) to S Guinea (Rosevear, 1969); also from Ethiopia (AMNH 81119 and four other specimens as reported by Duckworth et al., 1993, and Yalden et al., 1976). Range limits unresolved.
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:Apparently most closely related to D. nyikae (see that account). A very widespread species and one requiring taxonomic revision, especially West African populations. Specimens from Mt Nimba, on the Guinea-Côte d’Ivoire border (Heim de Balsac and Lamotte, 1958; Rosevear, 1969), have ochraceous-red upperparts with indistinct stripe and white underparts, chromatic traits that fall outside the fur color and dorsal pattern of southern African D. melanotis (dorsum gray with prominent dark stripe, venter grayish), and may represent a separate species (either undescribed or a population of D. messorius). Crawford-Cabral (1998) questioned the inclusion of concinnus, but Thomas’ (1926e) description fits within morphological variation currently accepted as D. melanotis (see Roberts, 1951:449).
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    arenarius Roberts, 1924
    basuticus Roberts, 1927
    capensis Roberts, 1931
    chiversi Roberts, 1929
    concinnus Thomas, 1926
    exoneratus Thomas, 1918
    insignis (Shortridge and Carter, 1938)
    nigrifrons (True, 1892)
    pallidus (Heuglin, 1877)
    pecilei (Milne-Edwards, 1886)
    pretoriae Roberts, 1931
    shortridgei St. Leger, 1930
    spectabilis Heller, 1911
    subtilis (Sundevall, 1846)
    thorntoni Roberts, 1931
    vulturnus Thomas, 1916

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