Voley, Voley, Voley

Over a third of all living mammal species are rodents. In cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the rodent fauna is often dominated by the Microtinae, the group of mouse-like rodents including voles and lemmings. And in North America, the most widespread of all microtine species is the eastern meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus. Eastern meadow… Continue reading Voley, Voley, Voley


Jaw of Mimomys pliocaenicus, copyright Ghedoghedo.Belongs within: Cricetidae. Contains: Clethrionomys, Dicrostonyx, Myodes, Eothenomys, Microtus. The Arvicolinae, voles and lemmings, are a Holarctic group of small rodents with a tail less than half the length of the head and body, an angular skull, and a short rostrum. The lemmings (e.g. Dicrostonyx and Lemmus) are cold-climate specialists,… Continue reading Arvicolinae

The Long-eared Bats of Australasia

When most people think of Australian mammals, they imagine the fauna as dominated by marsupials and monotremes, representatives of lineages long isolated from those found elsewhere. But Australia is also home to a remarkable diversity of native placentals. Immigrating from the north as Australia drifted closer to Asia, the rodents and bats underwent their own… Continue reading The Long-eared Bats of Australasia

The Font of the Placentals

The large-scale incorporation of molecular data into phylogenetics over the last few decades has caused a revolution in our understanding of life’s evolution. Taxa whose interrelationships were previously regarded as intractable have been opened up to study, and many of our previous views on relationships have been forced to shift. Because conflict always makes for… Continue reading The Font of the Placentals

The Cervini: Deer of Temperate Eurasia (and Beyond)

A couple of years back, I presented you with a post giving a quick overview of the classification of deer. For this post, I’m going to look a bit closer at a particular subgroup of deer: the species of the tribe Cervini. Wapiti Cervus canadensis, photographed by Mongo. For most people outside the Americas, a… Continue reading The Cervini: Deer of Temperate Eurasia (and Beyond)

The Mouse Shrews of Africa

Shrews are one of the less appreciated groups of mammals. Small (some are among the smallest mammals on earth), skulking, they are often overlooked but are nevertheless represented by a diversity of species in many parts of the world. Among this diversity are the mouse shrews of the genus Myosorex. Forest shrew Myosorex varius, from… Continue reading The Mouse Shrews of Africa


Common dwarf mongoose Helogale parvula, copyright Bernard Dupont. Belongs within: Herpestidae. Helogale, the dwarf mongooses, is a genus of small, diurnal, social mongooses with a grizzled brown pelage found in eastern and southern Africa. Helogale     |–H. brunnula S78     |–H. dybowskii S78     |–H. hirtula S78     |–H. ivori S78     |–H. macmillani S78     |–H. mimetra S78     |–H. parvula… Continue reading Helogale


Black wildebeest Connochaetes gnou, copyright Bernard Dupont. Belongs within: Alcephalinae. Connochaetes, the gnus or wildebeest, is a genus of cattle-like grazing antelopes found in grasslands and open woodland of southern and eastern Africa. Characters (from Murray 1984): Head massive, both sexes horned. Mane present on neck and shoulders, beard under throat. Tail long, reaching nearly… Continue reading Connochaetes