Friday, May 11, 2018

[Mammalogy • 2018] Mesechinus wangi • Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Mesechinus (Mammalia: Erinaceidae) with Description of A New Species from southwestern Yunnan, China

Mesechinus wangi  He, Jiang & Ai, 2018

in Ai, He, Chen, Li, Wan, et al., 2018. 

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.

Keywords: Mesechinus, Taxonomy, Morphometrics, Inhibitory cascade, Karyotype, New species, Supernumerary molar

Figure 1 Living Mesechinus wangi sp. nov. (KIZ 034115)

Mesechinus wangi sp. nov. He, Jiang & Ai

Common names: Gaoligong Forest Hedgehog (高黎贡林 猬, Gaoligong Linwei)
or Wang’s Forest Hedgehog (王氏林 猬, Wangshi Linwei) 

Holotype: KIZ 022028 (field number: 201012001), adult female collected from Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve, Baoshan, Yunnan, China, on 1 September 2010 at an altitude of 2 215 m a.s.l.. Alcohol-preserved and cleaned skull are deposited in KIZ, CAS. 


Distribution: To date, this species is known only from three counties (Tengchong, Longling, and Longyang) of Baoshan in Yunnan, China, at elevations ranging from 2 200 m–2 680 m. The habitat is subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest formed by a variety of vegetation, including Fagaceae, Lauraceae, Ericaceae, and Theaceae (Figure 8).

 Comments: Population size is currently unknown. However, the known distribution is extremely small and located only within the Gaoligong National Nature Reserve. The species hibernates from middle of October to the following early April.

Huai-Sen Ai, Kai He, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Jia-Qi Li, Tao Wan, Quan Li, Wen-Huan Nie, Jin-Huan Wang, Wei-Ting Su and Xue-Long Jiang. 2018. Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Mesechinus (Mammalia: Erinaceidae) with Description of A New Species. Zoological Research.  DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2018.034