INTRODUCTION The recognition of subgenera and the taxonomic allocation and delineation of species and numerous subspecies in southern African rock rats of the genus Aethomys have been the source of systematic uncertainty (Meester et al, 1986 ; Skinner and Smithers 1990; Musser and Carleton 1993). This is largely due to the rarity of some species, questionable distributional records, morphological similarities, chromosomal diversity and extensive intraspecific phenotypic variation in most species. Five species, A. namaquensis, A. granti, A. chrysophilus, A. silindensis and A. nyikae, have been reported from southern Africa (Meester et al. 1986; Skinner and Smi- Mammalia, t. 62, n° 3, 1998 : 427-437. thers 1990). Aethomys namaqiiensis and A. granti have traditionally been ascribed to the subgenus Micaelamys while A. chrysophilus, A. silindensis and A. nyikae have been allocated to the nominate subgenus Aethomys (Meester et al. 1986). The characters separating the two subgenera have, however, been regarded as taxonomically of little value (Musser and Carleton 1993). Aethomys namaquensis and A. chrysophilus are widely distributed in the subregion whereas A. granti is restricted to the Karroo in south-central South Africa. Aethom\s silindensis has only been recorded from three localities in eastern Zimbabwe (Meester et al. 1986 ;
Mammalia - International Journal of the Systematics, Biology and Ecology of Mammals – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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