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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 7, 2019

Taxonomic anarchy or an inconvenient truth for conservation? Accelerated species discovery reveals evolutionary patterns and heightened extinction threat in Afro-Malagasy small mammals

  • Peter J. Taylor EMAIL logo , Christiane Denys and Fenton P.D. (Woody) Cotterill
From the journal Mammalia


We respond to recent criticisms of supposed “taxonomic anarchy” which is said to hamper conservation efforts. Using examples from African small mammals, we document recent increases of 13% (rodents) and 18% (bats) over the past three decades in the number of recognized species of Afro-Malagasy rodents and bats. By reference to a number of case studies involving Afro-Malagasy taxa (predominantly from montane habitats), and a suggested four-criterion approach to delimiting species accurately, we show that these increases are a genuine reflection of speciation in cryptic species complexes. Moreover, we show that some of these cryptic species are subject to increased extinction risks due to small population size and anthropogenic changes (habitat degradation and climate change). These changes were captured accurately in a recent Mammal Red List of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, indicating that taxonomists and conservationists can work together to assess the Red List status of cryptic species based on robust taxonomic revisions.

  1. Funding: South African National Research Foundation, Grant Number: 87311.

Appendix 1:

List of taxonomic names, authorities and country of the origin of type specimens of new African bats and rodents described since 1989.

YearOrderSpeciesAuthorityGeographic origin (country) of type
1989ChiropteraRhinolophus hillorumKoopman 1989Liberia
1991ChiropteraEpomophorus minimusClaessen et De Vree 1991Ethiopia
1993ChiropteraChaerephon tomensis(Juste et Ibáñez 1993)São Tomé and Principé
1995ChiropteraMiniopterus gleniPeterson, Eger et Mitchell 1995Madagascar
1995ChiropteraNeoromicia malagasyensis(Peterson, Eger et Mitchell 1995)Madagascar
1997ChiropteraMyonycteris goliath*(Bergmans 1997)Zimbabwe
1997ChiropteraMyonycteris petraea*(Bergmans 1997)Ethiopia
2000ChiropteraRhinolophus maendeleoKock, Csorba et Howell 2000Tanzania
2000ChiropteraPlecotus balensisKruskop et Lavrenchenko 2000Ethiopia
2001ChiropteraGlauconycteris curryaeEger et Schlitter 2001Cameroon
2002ChiropteraRhinolophus ziamaFahr, Vierhaus, Hutterer et Kock 2002Guinea
2002ChiropteraRhinolophus sakejiensisCotterill 2002Zambia
2004ChiropteraDasymys shortridgeiMullin, Taylor et Pillay 2004Namibia
2004ChiropteraEpomophorus anselliBergmans et Van Strien 2004Malawi
2004ChiropteraChaerephon jobimenaGoodman et Cardiff 2004Madagascar
2004ChiropteraPipistrellusHulva et Benda 2004Libya
2004ChiropteraPlecotus gaisleriBenda, Kiefer, Hanak et Veith 2004Libya
2005ChiropteraMyotis dieteriM. Happold 2005Congo
2005ChiropteraScotophilus tandrefanaGoodman, Jenkins et Ratrimomanarivo 2005Madagascar
2006ChiropteraPipistrellus raceyiBates, Ratrimomanarivo, Harrison et Goodman 2006Madagascar
2006ChiropteraScotophilus marovazaGoodman, Ratrimomanarivo et Randrianandrianina 2006Madagascar
2006ChiropteraParemballonura tiavato(Goodman, Cardiff, Ranivo, Russell et Yoder 2006)Madagascar
2007ChiropteraMyzopoda schliemanniGoodman, Rakotondraparany et Kofoky 2007Madagascar
2007ChiropteraMiniopterus sororculusGoodman, Ryan, Maminirina, Fahr, Christidis et Appleton 2007Madagascar
2008ChiropteraParatriaenops pauliani(Goodman et Ranivo 2008)Seychelles
2008ChiropteraMops (Xiphonycteris) bakariiStanley 2009Tanzania (Pemba Island)
2008ChiropteraMormopterus francoismoutouiGoodman, Jansen Van Vuuren, Ratrimomanarivo, Probst, Bowie 2008Réunion
2008ChiropteraMiniopterus petersoniGoodman, Bradman, Maminirina, Ryan, Christidis et Appleton 2008Madagascar
2009ChiropteraTriaenops menamenaGoodman et Ranivo 2009Madagascar
2009ChiropteraMiniopterus aelleniGoodman, Maminirina, Weyeneth, Bradman, Christidis, Ruedi et Appleton 2009Madagascar
2009ChiropteraMiniopterus brachytragosGoodman, Maminirina, Bradman, Christidis et Appleton 2009Madagascar
2009ChiropteraMiniopterus mahafaliensisGoodman, Bradman, Christidis et Appleton 2009Madagascar
2010ChiropteraMiniopterus griffithsiGoodman, Maminirina, Bradman, Christidis et Appleton 2009Madagascar
2010ChiropteraChaerephon atsinananaGoodman, Buccas, Naidoo, Ratrimomanarivo, Taylor et Lamb 2010Madagascar
2011ChiropteraMiniopterus egeriGoodman, Ramasindrazana, Maminirina, Schoeman, et Appleton 2011Madagascar
2012ChiropteraMegaloglossus azagnyiNesi, Kadjo et Hassanin 2012Ivory Coast
2012ChiropteraRhinolophus cohenaeTaylor, Stoffberg, Monadjem, Schoeman, Bayliss et Cotterill 2012South Africa
2012ChiropteraRhinolophus mabuensisTaylor, Stoffberg, Monadjem, Schoeman, Bayliss et Cotterill 2012Mozambique
2012ChiropteraRhinolophus mossambicusTaylor, Stoffberg, Monadjem, Schoeman, Bayliss et Cotterill 2012Mozambique
2012ChiropteraRhinolophus smithersiTaylor, Stoffberg, Monadjem, Schoeman, Bayliss et Cotterill 2012South Africa
2012ChiropteraRhinolophus horacekiBenda et Vallo 2012Libya
2012ChiropteraNeoromicia robertsiGoodman, Taylor, Ratrimomanarivo et Hoofer 2012Madagascar
2012ChiropteraColeura kibomalandyGoodman, Puechmaille, Friedli-Weyeneth, Gerlach, Ruedi, Schoeman, Stanley et Teeling 2012Madagascar
2013ChiropteraRhinolophus kahuziFahr et Kerbis Peterhans 2013Democratic Republic of Congo
2013ChiropteraRhinolophus willardiKerbis Peterhans et Fahr 2013Democratic Republic of Congo
2013ChiropteraMiniopterus mossambicusMonadjem, Goodman, Stanley et Appleton 2013Mozambique
2013ChiropteraNeoromicia roseveariMonadjem, Richards, Taylor et Stoffberg 2013Liberia
2014ChiropteraCasinycteris campomaanensisHassanin 2014Cameroon
2014ChiropteraMiniopterus maghrebensisPuechmaille, Allegrini, Benda, Bilgin, Ibañez et Juste 2014Morocco
2014ChiropteraScotophilus andrewreboriiBrooks et Bickham 2014Kenya
2014ChiropteraScotophilus ejetaiBrooks et Bickham 2014Ethiopia
2014ChiropteraScotophilus livingstoniiBrooks et Bickham 2014Kenya
2014ChiropteraScotophilus trujilloiBrooks et Bickham 2014Kenya
2015ChiropteraScotonycteris bergmansiHassanin, Khouider, Gembu, Goodman, Kadjo, Nesi, Pourrut, Nakouné et Bonillo 2015Central African Republic
2015ChiropteraOtomops harrisoniRalph, Richards, Taylor, Napier et Lamb 2015Ethiopia
2015ChiropteraHypsugo bemaintyGoodman, Rakotondramanana, Ramasindrazana, Kearney, Monadjem, Schoeman, Taylor, Naughton et Appleton 2015Madagascar
2015ChiropteraMiniopterus ambohitrensisGoodman, Ramasindrazana, Naughton et Appleton 2015Madagascar
2016ChiropteraHipposideros cryptovaloronaGoodman, Schoeman, Rakotoarivelo et Willows-Munro 2016Madagascar
2016ChiropteraNeoromicia isabellaDecher, Hutterer et Monadjem 2016Guinea
2017ChiropteraNeoromicia stanleyiGoodman, Kearney, Ratsimbazafy et Hassanin 2017Botswana
1989RodentiaMastomys verheyeni*Robbins et Van der Straeten 1989Nigeria
1989RodentiaPraomys angolae*Crawford-Cabral 1989Angola
1990RodentiaPraomys mutoniVan der Straeten et Dudu 1990Democratic Republic of Congo
1991RodentiaLemniscomys hoogstraaliDieterlen 1991Sudan
1992RodentiaOtomys occidentalisDieterlen et Van der Straeten 1992Nigeria
1992RodentiaPraomys obscurusHutterer et Dieterlen 1992Nigeria
1994RodentiaEliurus ellermaniCarleton 1994Madagascar
1994RodentiaEliurus petteriCarleton, 1994Madagascar
1996RodentiaLophuromys huttereriW. Verheyen, Colyn et Hulselmans 1996Democratic Republic of Congo
1996RodentiaMonticolomys koopmaniCarleton et Goodman 1996Madagascar
1997RodentiaLophuromys dieterleniW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Colyn et Hutterer 1997Cameroon
1997RodentiaLophuromys roseveariW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Colyn et Hutterer 1997Cameroon
1998RodentiaMastomys awashensisLavrenchenko, Likhnova et Baskevich (in Lavrenchenko et al. 1998a)Ethiopia
1998RodentiaEliurus grandidieriCarleton et Goodman 1998Madagascar
1998RodentiaVoalavo gymnocaudusCarleton et Goodman 1998Madagascar
1999RodentiaFukomys anselli(Burda, Zima, Scharff, Macholan et Kawalika 1999)Zambia
1999RodentiaFukomys kafuensis(Burda, Zima, Scharff, Macholan et Kawalika 1999)Zambia
1999RodentiaPraomys degraaffiVan der Straeten et Peterhans 1999Burundi
2000RodentiaLophuromys angolensisW. Verheyen, Dierckx et Hulselmans 2000Angola
2001RodentiaEliurus antsingyCarleton, Goodman et Rakotondravony 2001Madagascar
2002RodentiaGerbillus rupicolaGranjon, Aniskin, Volobouev et Sicard 2002Mali
2002RodentiaLophuromys duduiW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx et E. Verheyen 2002Democratic Republic of Congo
2002RodentiaLophuromys verhageniW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx et E. Verheyen 2002Tanzania
2003RodentiaDasymys cabraliW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Colyn, Leirs et E. Verheyen 2003Namibia
2003RodentiaDasymys rwandaeW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Colyn, Leirs et E. Verheyen 2003Rwanda
2003RodentiaDasymys suaW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Colyn, Leirs et E. Verheyen 2003Tanzania
2003RodentiaDesmomys yaldeniLavrenchenko 2003Ethiopia
2003RodentiaPraomys petteriVan der Straeten, Lecompte et Denys 2003Central African Republic
2003RodentiaTaterillus tranieriDobigny, Granjon, Aniskin, Bâ et Volobouev 2003Mali
2004RodentiaDasymys robertsiiMullin, Taylor et Pillay 2004South Africa
2004RodentiaAnomalurus pelii peralbusSchunke et Hutterer 2005Ivory Coast
2005RodentiaHylomyscus arcimontensisCarleton et Stanley 2005Tanzania
2005RodentiaMacrotarsomys petteriGoodman et Soarimalala 2005Madagascar
2005RodentiaVoalavo antsahabensisGoodman, Rakotondravony, Randriamanantsoa et Rakotomalala- Razanahoera, 2005Madagascar
2007RodentiaLophuromys chercherensisLavrenchenko, W. Verheyen, E. Verheyen, Hulselmans et Leirs 2007Ethiopia
2007RodentiaLophuromys kilonzoiW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Mulungu, Leirs, Corti et Verheyen 2007Tanzania
2007RodentiaLophuromys machanguiW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Mulungu, Leirs, Corti et E. Verheyen 2007Tanzania
2007RodentiaLophuromys makundiiW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Mulungu, Leirs, Corti et E. Verheyen 2007Tanzania
2007RodentiaLophuromys menageshaeLavrenchenko, W. Verheyen, E. Verheyen, Hulselmans et Leirs 2007Ethiopia
2007RodentiaLophuromys pseudosikapusiLavrenchenko, W. Verheyen, E. Verheyen, Hulselmans et Leirs 2007Ethiopia
2007RodentiaLophuromys sabuniiW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Mulungu, Leirs, Corti et E. Verheyen 2007Tanzania
2007RodentiaLophuromys stanleyiW. Verheyen, Hulselmans, Dierckx, Mulungu, Leirs, Corti et E. Verheyen 2007Uganda
2007RodentiaEliurus danieliCarleton et Goodman 2007Madagascar
2008RodentiaGrammomys brevirostrisKryštufek 2008Kenya
2008RodentiaHylomyscus walterverheyeniNicolas, Wendelen, Barriere, Dudu et Colyn 2008Gabon
2008RodentiaPraomys coetzeeiVan der Straeten 2008Angola
2009RodentiaDendromus ruppiDieterlen, 2009South Sudan
2009RodentiaGraphiurus walterverheyeniHolden et Levine 2009Democratic Republic of Congo
2009RodentiaEliurus carletoniGoodman, Raheriariseni et Jansa 2009Madagascar
2010RodentiaHylomyscus pamfiNicolas et al. 2010Benin
2011RodentiaAcomys muzeiVerheyen, Hulselmans, Wendelen, Leirs, Corti, Backeljau et Verheyen 2011Tanzania
2011RodentiaAcomys nguruiVerheyen, Hulselmans, Wendelen, Leirs, Corti, Backeljau et Verheyen 2011Tanzania
2011RodentiaFukomys ilariaeGippoliti et Amori 2011Somalia
2011RodentiaGrammomys selousiDenys et al. 2011Tanzania
2011RodentiaOtomys cheesmaniTaylor et al. 2011Ethiopia
2011RodentiaOtomys simiensisTaylor et al. 2011Ethiopia
2011RodentiaOtomys yaldeniTaylor et al. 2011Ethiopia
2012RodentiaDendromus lachaiseiDenys et Aniskine 2012Guinea
2013RodentiaFukomys vandewoestijneaeVan Daele et al. 2013Zambia
2014RodentiaHylomyscus kerbispeterhansiDemos, Agwanda et Hickerson 2014Kenya
2015RodentiaHylomyscus heinrichorumCarleton, Banasiak et Stanley 2015Angola
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Received: 2018-02-19
Accepted: 2018-08-28
Published Online: 2019-01-07
Published in Print: 2019-07-26

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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