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Van Dyck, Stephen Maxwell 1997 Revisionary studies in Antechinus and Murexia (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae), University of New South Wales.
    © Stephen Maxwell Van Dyck, 1997. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.

Abstract

The unremarkable, rat-like appearance of 16 named forms of small Irian Jayan and New Guinean dasyurids previously assigned to Antechinus Waterhouse, 1837, and Murexia Tate and Archbold, 1937, has resulted in persistent taxonomic confusion. In this the two genera are systematically revised and the fossil history of the group is reviewed to develop hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships. The following conclusions have been group drawn: that the New Guinea taxa assigned to 'Antechinus' (pre-1984) represent three related, but morphologically primitive taxa that lack clear signs of relationship to each other. I have placed them in three monotypic genera which are described as Micromurexia (habbema), Phascomurexia (naso) and Murexechinus (melanurus), all but distantly related to Australian antechinuses; that the New Guinea genus Murexia is monotypic (Murexia longicaudata) and highly pleisiomorphic and does not form a monphyletic group with other New Guinea taxa or with Australian taxa. It has no especially close relationship with the more derived species rothschildi which has traditionally been assigned to Murexia. This form is assigned here to the new genus Paramurexia; the subfamily Murexinae is not supported; the Australian genus Antechinus is monophyletic with Phascogale; the Australian genus Antechinus is monophyletic with Phascogale; the Australian highland rainforest taxon previously known as Antechinus stuartii adustus is elevated to full specific rank and the distinct southeast Queensland form of Antechinus stuartii is assigned subspecific status as A. stuartii subtropicus.



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