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Murinae

The Old World rats and mice, part of the subfamily Murinae in the family Muridae, comprise at least 519 species. Members of this subfamily are called murines. This subfamily is larger than all mammal families except the Cricetidae and Muridae, and is larger than all mammal orders except the bats and the remainder of the rodents. Murinae is the modern name for Mures.

Description

The Murinae are native to Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They are the only terrestrial placental mammals native to Australia. They have also been introduced to all continents except Antarctica, and are serious pest animals. This is particularly true in island communities where they have contributed to the endangerment and extinction of many native animals. Two prominent murine human commensals have become vital laboratory animals. The brown rat and house mouse are both used as medical subjects. The murines have a distinctive molar pattern that involves three rows of cusps instead of two, the primitive pattern seen most frequently in muroid rodents.

Fossils

The first known appearance of the Murinae in the fossil record is about 14 million years ago with the fossil genus Antemus. Antemus is thought to derive directly from Potwarmus, which has a more primitive tooth pattern. Likewise, two genera, Progonomys and Karnimata, are thought to derive directly from Antemus. Progonomys is thought to be the ancestor of Mus and relatives, while Karnimata is thought to lead to Rattus and relatives. All of these fossils are found in the well-preserved and easily dated Siwalik fossil beds of Pakistan. The transition from Potwarmus to Antemus to Progonomys and Karnimata is considered an excellent example of anagenic evolution.

Taxonomy

Most of the Murinae have been poorly studied. Some genera have been grouped, such as the hydromyine water rats, conilurine or pseudomyine Australian mice, or the phloeomyine Southeast Asian forms. No tribal level taxonomy has been attempted for the complete subfamily. It appears as if genera from Southeast Asian islands and Australia may be early offshoots compared to mainland forms. The vlei rats in the genera Otomys and Parotomys are often placed in a separate subfamily, Otomyinae, but have been shown to be closely related to African murines in spite of their uniqueness. Three genera, Uranomys, Lophuromys, and Acomys, were once considered to be murines, but were found to be more closely related to gerbils through molecular phylogenetics. They have been assigned a new subfamily status, Deomyinae. Molecular phylogenetic studies of Murinae include Lecompte, et al. (2008),Emilie Lecompte, Ken Aplin, Christiane Denys, François Catzeflis, Marion Chades and Pascale Chevret. 2008. Phylogeny and biogeography of African Murinae based on mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences, with a new tribal classification of the subfamily. BMC Evolutionary Biology2008 8:199 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-8-199 which analyzes African murine species based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and two nuclear gene fragments. Lecompte, et al. (2008) estimates that African murines colonized Africa from Asia approximately 11 million years ago during the Miocene. The following phylogeny of 16 Murinae genera, based on molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Interphotoreceptor Retinoid Binding Protein (IRBP) gene, is from Jansa & Weksler (2004: 264). }} }} }} |2={{clade |1= Rhynchomys |2={{clade |1= Otomys |2={{clade |1= Aethomys |2={{clade |1= Rhabdomys |2= Grammomys }} }} }} |3={{clade |1= Tokudaia |2={{clade |1= Mus |2={{clade |1= Mastomys |2={{clade |1= Praomys |2= Hylomyscus }} }} }} }} }} }} }} }}

Distribution

The following is a list of Murinae genus divisions ordered by the continents that they are endemic to. Most of the diversity is located in Southeast Asia and Australasia.

List of species

As of 2005, the Murinae contained 129 genera in 584 species. Musser and Carleton (2005) divided the Murinae into 29 genus divisions. They treated the Otomyinae as a separate subfamily, but all molecular analyses conducted to date have supported their inclusion in the Murinae as relatives of African genera . In a recent expedition in the Philippines, seven more Apomys mice were added and the genus was proposed to split into two subgenera - Apomys and Megapomys, based on morphological and cytochrome b DNA sequences. SUBFAMILY MURINAE - Old World rats and mice

Notes

References

"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murinae, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Murinae&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany