|Malagasy rats and mice
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene - Recent
|The Malagasy giant rat Hypogeomys antimena has a body length of 30-35 cm (12-14 inches).|
Forsyth Major, 1897
The Malagasy rats and mice are the sole members of the subfamily Nesomyinae. These animals are the only native rodents of Madagascar, come in many shapes and sizes, and occupy a wide variety of ecological niches. There are nesomyines that resemble gerbils, rats, mice, voles, and even rabbits. There are arboreal, terrestrial, and semi-fossorial varieties.
These rodents are clearly most closely related to some muroid rodents found on the African mainland. Some molecular phylogeneticists consider this clade of Malagasy and African rodents to represent a distinct family, the Nesomyidae. Other researchers place the Nesomyinae into a large family, Muridae, along with all members of the superfamily Muroidea.
It has been reported that the Nesomyinae is not monophyletic, but this has not been supported in other analyses. Additionally, there were problems with this particular study, notably the use of Calomyscus as an outgroup while more distantly related muroids (rhyzomyines) were included in the ingroup. It seems likely that all rodents in Madagascar are descendants from a single invasion of the island.
If monophyletic, the nesomyines represent one of only five colonization events of terrestrial mammals from mainland Africa. The other groups are tenrecs, lemurs, Malagasy carnivorans, and bibymalagasians. Molecular clock analyses suggest that the ancestor of the nesomyines colonized Madagascar about 20-25 million years ago. This is at approximately the same time as the Malagasy carnivorans, but is considerably more recent than the estimated colonization times of tenrecs and lemurs.
Subfamily Nesomyinae - Malagasy rats and mice
- Genus Brachytarsomys - Malagasy white-tailed rats
- Genus Brachyuromys - Malagasy short-tailed rats
- Genus Eliurus - Tufted-tailed rats
- Tsingy tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus antsingy
- Ankarana Special Reserve tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus carletoni
- Ellerman's tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus ellermani
- Daniel's tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus danieli
- Grandidier's tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus grandidieri
- Major's tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus majori
- Lesser tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus minor
- Dormouse tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus myoxinus
- White-tipped tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus penicillatus
- Petter's tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus petteri
- Tanala tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus tanala
- Webb's tufted-tailed rat, Eliurus webbi
- Genus Gymnuromys
- Voalavoanala, Gymnuromys roberti
- Genus Hypogeomys
- Genus Macrotarsomys - Big-footed mice
- Genus Monticolomys
- Koopman's Montane voalavo, Monticolomys koopmani
- Genus Nesomys
- Genus Voalavo
- Poux, C.; Madsen, O.; Marquard, E.; Vieites, D. R.; de Jong, W. W.; Vences, M. (2005). "Asynchronous colonization of Madagascar by the four endemic clades of primates, tenrecs, carnivores, and rodents as inferred from nuclear genes". Systematic Biology (Oxford University Press) 54 (5): 719–730. doi:10.1080/10635150500234534. PMID 16243759.
- Jansa, S. A.; Goodman, S. M.; Tucker, P. K. (1999). "Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the native rodents of Madagascar (Muridae, Nesomyinae): a test of the single origin hypothesis". Cladistics 15 (3): 253–270. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.1999.tb00267.x.
- Jansa, S. A., Weksler, M. (2004). "Phylogeny of muroid rodents: relationships within and among major lineages as determined by IRBP gene sequences" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (1): 256–276. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.002. PMID 15019624.
- Michaux, J.; Reyes, A.; Catzeflis, F. (2001). "Evolutionary history of the most speciose mammals: molecular phylogeny of muroid rodents". Molecular Biology and Evolution 17 (11): 280–293. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a003743. PMID 11606698.
- Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Johns Hopkins University Press, London.
- Steppan, S. J.; Adkins, R. A.; Anderson, J. (2004). "Phylogeny and divergence date estimates of rapid radiations in muroid rodents based on multiple nuclear genes". Systematic Biology 53 (4): 533–553. doi:10.1080/10635150490468701. PMID 15371245.