Zoological Research ›› 2018, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (5): 335-347.doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.034

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Taxonomic revision of the genus Mesechinus (Mammalia: Erinaceidae) with description of a new species

Huai-Sen Ai1,#, Kai He2,3,#,*, Zhong-Zheng Chen2,4,#, Jia-Qi Li5, Tao Wan2, Quan Li2, Wen-Hui Nie2, Jin-Huan Wang2, Wei-Ting Su2, Xue-Long Jiang2,*   

  1. 1 Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve, Baoshan Yunnan 678000, China
    2 Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China
    3 The Kyoto University Museum, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
    4 College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu Anhui 241000, China
    5 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Nanjing Jiangsu 210042, China
  • Online:2018-09-18 Published:2018-07-13
  • Contact: Kai He,Xue-Long Jiang,E-mail:hekai@mail.kiz.ac.cn; jiangxl@mail.kiz.ac.cn E-mail:hekai@mail.kiz.ac.cn; jiangxl@mail.kiz.ac.cn
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Abstract:

Hedgehogs in the genus Mesechinus (Family Erinaceidae), which include two currently recognized species (M. dauuricus and M. hughi), are distributed from northeast Mongolia to the upper Amur Basin in Russia and adjacent areas in northeast and northern China. In recent years, a population of Mesechinus hedgehogs was discovered from Mt. Gaoligong, southwestern Yunnan, China, far from the known distribution range of the genus. Furthermore, these hedgehogs are the only known population to be distributed at elevations higher than 2 100 m and in sympatry with gymnures. To evaluate the taxonomic status of these hedgehogs, we examined specimens representing Mesechinus taxa in China and further conducted morphometric and karyotypic analyses. Our results supported the existence of four species in China. Specifically, we identified the hedgehogs from Mt. Gaoligong as a new species, Mesechinus wangi sp. nov., and recognized M. miodon, previously considered as a synonym of either M. dauuricus or M. hughi, as a distinct species. Interestingly, we observed a supernumerary M4 on all specimens of Mesechinus wangi sp. nov., which is an extremely rare event in the evolution of mammalian dentition.

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