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Volume 81, Issue 1


Phylogenetic position of a monotypic Ethiopian endemic rodent genus Megadendromus (Rodentia, Nesomyidae)

Leonid A. Lavrenchenko
  • Corresponding author
  • A.N.Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow 119081, Russia
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/ Rena S. Nadjafova
  • A.N.Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow 119081, Russia
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/ Afework Bekele / Tatiana A. Mironova
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/ Josef Bryja
  • Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
  • Faculty of Science, Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic
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Published Online: 2016-02-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2015-0148


The taxonomic and phylogenetic position of the Nikolaus’s African climbing mouse (Megadendromus nikolausi), formerly known only from four specimens, remained for a long time ambiguous. 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 new specimen recently caught in the Bale Mountains in south-eastern Ethiopia. Our analyses strongly suggest that the Nikolaus’s climbing mouse does not belong to a distinct monotypic genus, but to the genus Dendromus. The first karyotype description of this enigmatic Ethiopian endemic is presented. The diploid set comprises 18 pairs of bi-armed chromosomes, 2N=36, one of the lowest diploid numbers reported for the genus Dendromus (2N=30–52). Moreover, the phylogenetic analysis reveals that another very distinctive Ethiopian endemic, Dendromus lovati, sometimes placed in a subgenus Chortomys, occupies an internal position within Dendromus s.s. The results suggest that the Ethiopian Plateau is an important center of high diversity and adaptive radiation for the genus Dendromus. The conservation status of M. nikolausi is assessed.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Dendromurinae; Ethiopia; karyotype; Megadendromus; phylogeny


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About the article

Corresponding author: Leonid A. Lavrenchenko, A.N.Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow 119081, Russia, e-mail:

Received: 2015-08-22

Accepted: 2015-12-11

Published Online: 2016-02-12

Published in Print: 2017-01-01

Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 81, Issue 1, Pages 71–82, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2015-0148.

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