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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 27, 2014

Enigmatic Ethiopian endemic rodent Muriculus imberbis (Rüppell 1842) represents a separate lineage within genus Mus

  • Yonas Meheretu EMAIL logo , Radim Šumbera and Josef Bryja
From the journal Mammalia


The phylogenetic position of the Ethiopian striped mouse (Muriculus imberbis) has remained obscure since its description. Here, we report, for the first time, the phylogenetic analysis of this species using mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and nuclear (interphotoreceptor binding protein) gene sequences obtained from a specimen recently caught in the Galama Mountain in the south-central Ethiopian highland region. The recent finding of the species in ericaceous shrub in the Afroalpine habitat is remarkable, as decades of attempts to capture it in this habitat failed, probably because of inappropriate trapping methods. Our analyses strongly suggest that the Ethiopian striped mouse does not belong to a distinct monotypic genus, but to the genus Mus, as the ancient lineage of the African subgenus Nannomys.

Corresponding author: Yonas Meheretu, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic, e-mail: ; and Department of Biology, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Mekelle University, P.O. Box 3102, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia


We thank the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority for the permission to work in Ethiopia (permission no. EWCA Ref. No. 31/314/05; 31/10/2005 E.C.), P. Kaňuch for the help in the field, L. Čížek and P. Švácha for stomach content analysis, O. Mikula for the picture of the skull, and M. Polák for the picture of the specimen. Financial support for the research was provided by the Czech Science Foundation, project no. P506-10-0983 (to JB and RŠ) and P502-11-J070 (to JB and YM).


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Supplemental Material

The online version of this article (DOI: 10.1515/mammalia-2013-0119) offers supplementary material, available to authorized users.

Received: 2013-7-26
Accepted: 2014-1-30
Published Online: 2014-2-27
Published in Print: 2015-2-1

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