Systematic studies of Oryzomyine rodents (Muridae, Sigmodontinae): diagnoses and distributions of species formerly assigned to Oryzomys 'capito'

Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History No. 236.

, , , and


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS


We describe the morphological species-boundaries and geographic distributions of ten Neotropical Oryzomys based on analyses of museum specimens (skins and skulls, examples preserved in fluid, chromosomal spreads, and information about collection sites from skin tags, field catalogs, and other sources). These species have been regarded as members of an Oryzomys capito complex and for a long time were consolidated into a single entity identified as O. capito. Our study documents the following: 1. Defining the limits of species within the O. capito complex first requires a comprehensive review and rigorous definition of O. capito itself. We consider Fischer's (1814) Mus megacephalus to be valid and available, designate a neotype to bear the name, and reinstate it as a senior synonym of capito Olfers (1818). We then provide a working definition of O. megacephalus and its close relative, O. laticeps, derived from analyses of morphometric variation, estimates of geographic distributions, and evaluations of synonyms. In our view, O. megacephalus occurs in Amazonia but also extends into eastern Paraguay; its synonyms are capito Olfers (1818), cephalotes Desmarest (1819), velutinus Allen and Chapman (1893), goeldi Thomas (1897), modestus Allen (1899), and perenensis Allen (1901). Oryzomys laticeps Lund (1840) occurs in the Atlantic Forest region of eastern Brazil. We designate a lectotype for laticeps and allocate the names saltator Winge (1887) and oniscus Thomas (1904) as synonyms. 2. We provide the first comprehensive taxonomic revision of Oryzomys yunganus Thomas (1902). Its range covers tropical evergreen rainforest formations in the Guiana region and the Amazon Basin where, as documented by voucher specimens, it has been collected at the same localities as O. megacephalus, O. nitidus, and O. tern of carotid arterial circulation, occlusal patterns of second upper and lower molars, cranial proportions, and chromosomal features. Appreciable intraspecific geographic variation occurs in diploid number of chromosomes and frequency of occurrence of the hypothenar plantar pad, but sampling inadequacies obscure the significance of this variation. Large body size is characteristic of populations in the western Amazon Basin and in the tepui region of eastern Venezuela; smaller size characterizes populations in the Guianas and along the eastern margin of the Amazon Basin. No other scientific name has been correctly associated with the species. Samples from Mirador, Palmera, and Mera in the western Andean foothills of central Ecuador possess a combination of pelage, cranial, and dental traits that distinguish them from all samples of O. yunganus. These specimens are the basis for a new species we describe here, one that is more closely related to O. yunganus than to any other member of the former O. 'capito' complex. 3. We redescribe Oryzomys bolivaris (reviewed by Pine, 1971, under the name O. bombycinus), amplify its geographic range, and contrast it with O. talamancae and O. alfaroi, two sympatric congeners often confused with it. A distinctive set of morphological traits allows unambiguous identification of specimens belonging to O. bolivaris. It is a trans-Andean species recorded from very wet tropical evergreen rainforests extending from eastern Honduras and Nicaragua through Costa Rica and Panama to western Colombia and Ecuador. Allen's (1901) bolivaris is the oldest name for this species; castaneus Allen (1901), rivularis Allen (1901), bombycinus Goldman (1912), alleni Goldman (1915), and orinus Pearson (1939) are synonyms. 4. We revise the definition of Oryzomys talamancae Allen (1891) provided by Musser and Williams (1985), document additional specimens, describe karyotypes from Ecuadoran and Venezuelan samples, and contrast its morphology, chromosomes, and distribution with those of O. alfaroi and O. megacephalus. The geographic distribution of O. talamancae is also trans-Andean, but it inh

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Organization Series
Systematic studies of Oryzomyine rodents (Muridae, Sigmodontinae): diagnoses and distributions of species formerly assigned to Oryzomys 'capito'
Series title:
Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History
Series number:
No. 236.
Year Published:
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center