Archive for November 2015

Lasiurus re-shuffled

November 30, 2015

A new paper proposes serious changes to Lasiurus taxonomy. The authors used both mtDNA ad nuclear DNA, but the sample sizes were mostly small. They propose lumping L. salinus, recognizing two spp. on Hawaii (one endemic, one shared with North America – I wish they at least tried to look at possible phenotypic differences) and a few more splits. They also propose splitting yellow, red and hoary bats into three genera (looks reasonable for yellow bats, but less so for the other two as some “red” species apparently belong to the “hoary” clade). They didn’t sample all species, so I’d wait until the missing ones are also sampled before accepting the 3-genera split.

Help with Borneo small mammal ID

November 29, 2015

Greetings everyone, I have four small mammals (two tree shrews, a squirrel and a rat species) that I could use some help with. These photos were all taken in July during our recent trip to Borneo. Trip report to follow! Thank you in advance and thanks again to Jon for allowing me/us to post here. John Van Niel

borneo small mammals ID help

IUCN mammals forum up and running

November 29, 2015

IUCN Red List forum is up and running, at least for mammals: You can report sightings, help fix errors, etc.

Right now the accounts for Caribbean land mammals are up for discussion:

Chile Trip Report

November 25, 2015

Here’s a report from Charles Foley who hit up some of the classic sites in Chile over the Christmas vacation in 2014/15.

Chile, 2015: Charles Foley, a week or so and a useful update on many of the sites in my 2009 report. Species included PumaBig Hairy ArmadilloMarine Otter and Pudu.



Help! South Africa is overwhelming!

November 24, 2015

Hi everyone,

First, for those who are wondering about CAR, I haven’t forgotten about it, but it will be February 2017 so I will start planning around Jan-Feb 2016.

Now to South Africa: I’m going there in October, maybe with my family. Most importantly, here is a list of the animals I’m after:

  1. Caracal
  2. Aardvark
  3. White Rhino
  4. Aardwolf
  5. Wild dogs
  6. Serval
  7. African Civet
  8. Mountain Zebra
  9. Zorilla
  10. Black-footed Cat
  11. Honey Badger (seen  very well, but no photo)
  12. Pangolin (can always wish, but any tips are welcome)
  13. Roan
  14. Sable
  15. Klipspringer
  16. Brown Hyena
  17. Porcupine
  18. Meerkat/Suricate
  19. Clawless Otter
  20. Spotted-necked Otter

Here are the places I was thinking of spending time in:
Kruger – 5 nights at 3 different areas (Satara, Mopani, Olifants)

Pilanesburg – 1 afternoon, night drive, morning

Marrick Safari – 2 nights plus previous afternoon and following morning

Mountain Zebra National Park – 1 afternoon, night drive, morning

Pattenberg Bay area – 1 day

De Hoop – 2 nights

Cape Town: Cage diving, scenic stuff – 3 days

West Coast National Park – 1 afternoon, night, morning

Does this sound like a good “fist time” trip to South Africa? I will also annex a 2-night “hop over” to Victoria Falls with flights from Johannesburg.

Any and all comments are welcome!! If I happen to not see any meerkats it won’t be the worst thing in the world. If I’m spending too much/too little time anywhere, please let me know. If You don’t think 1 night/morning is enough to try for caracals in West Coast NP, let me know.. really, any thoughts you might have. Even comments like “Tomer, don’t concentrate on wild dogs/brown hyena in South Africa because you can see them in the Kalahari whenever you’re in Botzwana sometime in the future” are welcome. Thanks so much in advance!!


Help with id of rodent in Nairobi National Park

November 23, 2015

heron with rodent in beak.jpg

I am sorry this is probably going to be a tough id. It is a rodent caught and eaten in front of my eyes by a young Black-headed Heron. The event ocurred within a dozen meters or so of the edge of Athi Dam in Nairobi National Park about 30 years ago (I am reviewing some old slides I have).

The general shape of the rodent reminds me of a picture I’ve seen of an African Marsh Rat Dasymys incomtus.

My fieldnotes say that the heron “was staring at the ground with legs half-bent, it speared its beak into the grass and brought up a brown-furred rodent with a bright red tail, rapidly paddling its feet. After a short while, the heron swallowed the rodent.”

Any insights as to the rodent’s identity?




Shrew and vole ID

November 21, 2015


Last summer I spent some time in the Alps (Arolla in Valais) and I caught some mammals that I find rather hard to ID.

This shrew was caught in a trap that I put up in a grassy patch bordering a shed and a grass field at the edge of the town (approximately 2000m altitude). The photos are quite crappy, but based on coloration and the hair on the hind foot I think it may be Neomys anomalus (Miller’s water shrew) – any thoughts? The tail seems a bit long for the water shrew and there was no water nearby, so maybe it’s Sorex antionorii – although the coloration doesn’t seem to fit for that one and I can’t find information on hairiness of the foot for that species. Does anyone have any thoughts?


This second one is probably even harder to ID with the photo I managed to take. I caught this one by hand. It looked like a juvenile. It was caught at about 2300m altitude, above the timber line on a mossy/grassy patch. I’m thinking Microtus arvalis (common vole) based on range and habitat, but maybe it’s Microtus agrestis (field vole) or even another species?


Thanks a lot!