Afrotherian Systematics

The following classification has been assembled by members of the IUCN-SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group. Superscripts refer to footnotes in each section. The binomial for each species is followed with the 2016 IUCN Red List categories of threat:

[DD] = Data Deficient [VU] = Vulnerable
[LC] = Least Concern [EN] = Endangered
[NT] = Near Threatened [CR] = Critically Endangered

The common English names for all species are included to the right of the scientific names. At the end of each section are literature citations that support the classification. For further details, see back issues of Afrotherian Conservation – Newsletter of the IUCN-SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group.

Supercohort: Afrotheria

Stanhope et al. (1998) grouped golden moles and tenrecs in the new order Afrosoricida. The existence of this clade, and its affinities with other Afrotherian taxa, is strongly supported by phylogenies based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences, and rare genomic changes such as indels (insertions and deletions), SINES (short interspersed nuclear sequences) and chromosomal rearrangements (Springer et al. 2004). Bronner et al. (2003) reluctantly accepted Afrosoricida as the ordinal name for this clade, a treatment followed by Bronner and Jenkins (2005) who argue that the alternative (and earlier) names "Tenrecoidea" and "Tenrecomorpha" are unsuitable at the ordinal level.

Subordinal distinction between the tenrecs (Tenrecomorpha) and golden moles (Chrysochloridea) has been motivated based on analyses of both morphological (Butler, 1972, 1988; MacPhee and Novacek, 1993) analyses and the above mentioned molecular studies indicating an early phylogenetic divergence.

Overall Classification

Bronner, G.N. and P.D. Jenkins. 2005. Order Afrosoricida. Pp. 70-81 in Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition. Wilson, D. E. and D.M. Reeder (eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 2142 pp.

The golden mole classification follows the treatment of Bronner & Jenkins (2005), and is based largely on the treatment of Meester et al. (1986) for the Chrysochlorinae, and Bronner (1995; 1996; 2000) for the Amblysominae. Type species are indicated by asterisks. Superscripts denote footnotes explained below.

Order: Afrosoricida (55 species)
Suborder: Chrysochloridea (21 species) Golden Moles
Family: Chrysochloridae  
Subfamily: Chrysochlorinae 1  
Genus: Eremitalpa  
Species: Eremitalpa granti* [LC] Grant's Golden Mole
Genus: Chrysospalax  
Species: Chrysospalax trevelyani* [EN] Giant Golden Mole
Species: Chrysospalax villosus [VU] Rough-haired Golden Mole
Genus: Chrysochloris  
Subgenus: Chrysochloris  
Species: Chrysochloris asiatica* [LC] Cape Golden Mole
Species: Chrysochloris visagiei incertae sedis2 [DD] Visagie’s Golden Mole
Subgenus: Kilimatalpa  
Species: Chrysochloris (K.) stuhlmanni* [LC] Stuhlmann’s Golden Mole
Genus: Cryptochloris  
Species: Cryptochloris zyli* [EN] Van Zyl’s Golden Mole
Species: Cryptochloris wintoni [CR] De Winton’s Golden Mole
Genus: Carpitalpa  
Species: Carpitalpa arendsi* [VU] Arend’s Golden Mole
Genus: Chlorotalpa  
Species: Chlorotalpa duthieae* [VU] Duthie’s Golden Mole
Species: Chlorotalpa sclateri [LC] Sclater’s Golden Mole
Subfamily: Amblysominae 1  
Genus: Calcochloris  
Subgenus: Calcochloris  
Species: Calcochloris (C.) obtusirostris* [LC] Yellow Golden Mole
Subgenus: Huetia 3  
Species: Calcochloris (H.) leucorhinus* [DD] Congo Golden Mole
Species: Calcochloris (H.) tytonis incertae sedis4 [DD] Somali Golden Mole
Genus: Amblysomus  
Species: Amblysomus hottentotus* 5 [LC] Hottentot Golden Mole
Species: Amblysomus corriae6 [NT] Fynbos Golden Mole
Species: Amblysomus septentrionalis 6 [NT] Highveld Golden Mole
Species: Amblysomus robustus 6 [VU] Robust Golden Mole
Species: Amblysomus marleyi 6 [EN] Marley’s Golden Mole
Genus: Neamblysomus 7  
Species: Neamblysomus gunningi* [EN] Gunning’s Golden Mole
Species: Neamblysomus julianae 8 [VU & CR] Juliana’s Golden Mole

Chrysochloridea Footnotes

1. Bronner et al. (2003) resurrected these subfamilies, which were erected by Simonetta (1968), but not used by most subsequent authors.

2. Known only from the type specimen. Meester (1974) argued that it may be an aberrant specimen of C. asiatica. More data are, however, needed to confirm the status of this taxon.

3. Included in Amblysomus by Simonetta (1968) and Petter (1981), and in Chlorotalpa by Meester (1974). Assigned to Calcochloris (Subgenus Huetia Forcart, 1942) by Bronner (1995) based on limited craniometric evidence.

4. Known from only the type specimen (partially-complete skull from an owl pellet), and thus of uncertain taxonomic status.

5. Bronner (1995, 1996, 2000) demonstrated the existence of three cryptic species (marleyi, septentrionalis and robustus) in this species, as traditionally constituted (Meester 1974).

6. Previously treated as a subspecies of A. iris, and devilliersi as a subspecies of A. hottentotus , see Meester et al. (1986). Bronner (1996) showed that iris represents only a subspecies of A. hottentotus, and elevated corriae to species rank to include devilliersi (previously included as a subspecies of hottentotus).

7. Included in Amblysomus by Simonetta (1968), Meester (1974), Petter (1981) and Meester et al. (1986). Bronner (1995) elevated it to generic rank on the basis of cytogenetic and cranial divergence from Amblysomus species.

8. The nominotypical population, from the Bronberg in eastern Pretoria, is now afforded Critically Endangered status owing to quartzite mining and urbanization, which are destroying its natural habitat.

Chrysochloridea References

Bronner, G.N. 1995. Systematic revision of the golden mole genera Amblysomus, Chlorotalpa & Calcochloris (Insectivora: Chrysochloromorpha; Chrysochloridae). Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

Bronner, G.N. 1996. Geographic patters of morphometric variation in the Hottentot golden mole, Amblysomus hottentotus (Insectivora: Chrysochloridae). A multivariate analysis. Mammalia 60:729-751.

Bronner, G.N. 2000. New species and subspecies of golden mole (Chrysochloridae: Amblysomus) from Mpumalanga, South Africa . Mammalia 64:41-54.

Bronner, G.N., Hoffman, M., Taylor, P.J., Chimimba, C.T., Best, P.B., Mathee C.A., & Robinson T.J. 2003. A revised systematic checklist of the extant mammals of the southern African subregion.Durban Museum Novitates 28: 56-106.

Bronner, G.N. and P.D. Jenkins. 2005. Order Afrosoricida. Pp. 70-81. In Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition. Wilson, D. E. and D.M. Reeder (eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 2142 pp.

Butler, P.M. 1972. The problem of insectivore classification, pp. 253-265. In Studies in vertebrate evolution. Ed. K. Joysey & T. Kemp. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.

Butler, P.M. 1988. Phylogeny of the insectivores, pp. 117-141. In The phylogeny and classification of the tetrapods, Vol. 2. Ed. M. J. Benton. Systematic Association Special Volume 35B. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

MacPhee, R.D.E. & Novacek, M.J. 1993. Definition and relationships of Lipotyphla, pp. 13-31. In Mammal phylogeny: placentals. Ed. F.S. Szalay,M.J. Novacek & M.C. McKenna. New York: Springer Verlag.

Meester, J. 1974. Family Chrysochloridae, part 1.3, pp 1-7. In The mammals of Africa: an identification manual. Eds J. Meester & H.W. Setzer. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Meester, J.A.J., Rautenbach, I.L., Dippenaar, N.J. & Baker, C.M. 1986. Classification of southern African mammals. Transvaal Museum Monographs. 5: 1-359.

Petter, F. 1981. Remarques sur le systématique des chrysochlorides. Mammalia 45:49-53.

Simonetta, A.M. 1968. A new golden mole from Somalia with an appendix on the taxonomy of the Family Chrysochloridae (Mammalia: Insectivora). Monitore zoologica italiano (Supplement) 2: 27-55.

Springer M.S., Stanhope M.J., Madsen O. & de Jong W.W. 2004. Molecules consolidate the placental mammal tree. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:430–438.

Stanhope, M.J, Waddell, V.G., Madsen, O., de Jong, W., Hedges, B., Cleven, G.C., Kao, D. & Springer, M.S. 1999. Molecular evidence for multiple origins of Insectivora and for a new order of endemic African insectivore mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 95: 9967-9972.

Order: Afrosoricida
Suborder: Tenrecomorpha (34 species)
Family: Potamogalidae (3 species) Otter shrews
Genus: Potamogale  
Species: Potamogale velox [LC] Giant Otter Shrew
Genus: Micropotamogale  
Species: Micropotamogale lamottei [NT] Nimba Otter Shrew
Species: Micropotamogale ruwenzorii [LC] Ruwenzori Otter Shrew
Family: Tenrecidae (31 species) Tenrecs
Subfamily: Tenrecinae Spiny tenrecs
Genus: Echinops  
Species: Echinops telfairi [LC] Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
Genus: Hemicentetes Streaked Tenrecs
Species: Hemicentetes semispinosus  [LC] Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Species: Hemicentetes nigriceps [LC] Highland Streaked Tenrec
Genus: Setifer  
Species: Setifer setosus [LC] Greater Hedgehog Tenrec
Genus: Tenrec  
Species: Tenrec ecaudatus [LC] Tail-less Tenrec
Subfamily: Geogalinae  
Species: Geogale aurita [LC] Large-eared Tenrec
Subfamily: Oryzorictinae Furred Tenrecs
Genus: Microgale Shrew Tenrecs
Species: Microgale brevicaudata [LC] Short-tailed Shrew Tenrec
(syn. Microgale breviceps)  
(syn. Paramicrogale occidentalis)  
Species: Microgale cowani [LC] Cowan's Shrew Tenrec
(syn. Microgale crassipes)  
(syn. Microgale longirostris)  
(syn. Microgale cowani nigrescens)  
Species: Microgale drouhardi [LC] Drouhard's Shrew Tenrec
(syn. Microgale melanorrhachis)  
Species: Microgale dryas [VU] Dryad Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale fotsifotsy [LC] Pale Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale gracilis [LC] Gracile Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale grandidieri [LC]  
Species: Microgale gymnorhyncha [LC] Naked-nosed Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale jenkinsae [EN]  
Species: Microgale jobihely [EN]  
Species: Microgale longicaudata [LC] Lesser Long-tailed Shrew Tenrec
(syn. Microgale prolixacaudata)  
Species: Microgale majori [LC] Major’s Long-tailed Tenrec
Species: Microgale merguls2 [VU] Web-footed Tenrec
Species: Microgale monticola [VU] Montane Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale nasoloi [VU] Nasolo's Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale parvula [LC] Pygmy Shrew Tenrec
(syn. Microgale pulla)  
Species: Microgale principula [LC] Greater Long-tailed Shrew Tenrec
(syn. Microgale decaryi)  
(syn. Microgale sorella)  
Species: Microgale pusilla [LC] Least Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale soricoides [LC] Shrew-toothed Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale taiva [LC] Taiva Shrew Tenrec
Species: Microgale thomasi [LC] Thomas's Shrew Tenrec
Genus: Nesogale3 Large-bodied Shrew Tenrecs
Species:Nesogale dobsoni [LC] Dobson's Shrew Tenrec
Species:Nesogale talazaci [LC] Talazac's Shrew Tenrec
Genus: Oryzorictes Rice Tenrecs
Species: Oryzorictes hova [LC] Mole-like Rice Tenrec
(syn. Oryzorictes talpoides)  
Species: Oryzorictes tetradactylus [DD] Four-toed Rice Tenrec

Tenrecomorpha Footnotes

1. Taxonomy follows Everson KM, V Soarimalala, SM Goodman & LE Olson. 2016. Multiple loci and complete taxonomic sampling resolve the phylogeny and biogeographic history of tenrecs (Mammalia: Tenrecidae) and reveal higher speciation rates in Madagascar’s humid forests. Systematic Biology 65: 890-909.

2. Formerly placed in the genus Limnogale.

3. Formerly synonymized with Microgale.

Tenrecomorpha References

Heim de Balsac H. and F. Bourlière. 1955. Ordre des Insectivores.Systématique. In P.-P. Grassé (ed.): Mammifères: anatomie, éthologie, systématique. Traité de Zoologie 17: 1653-1697. Masson, Paris.

Order: Macroscelidea Sengis or Elephant-shrews
Family: Macroscelididae  
Subfamily: Rhynchocyoninae Giant Sengis
Genus: Rhynchocyon  
Species: Rhynchocyon chrysopygus [EN] Golden-rumped Sengi
Species: Rhynchocyon cirnei [LC] Chequered Sengi
Species: Rhynchocyon petersi [LC] Black and Rufous Sengi or Zanj Sengi
Species: Rhynchocyon stuhlmanni [pending] White-tailed Sengi
Species: Rhynchocyon udzungwensis [VU] Gray-faced sengi
Subfamily: Macroscelidinae Soft-furred Sengis
Genus: Petrodromus  
Species: Petrodromus tetradactylus [LC] Four-toed Sengi
Genus: Petrosaltator  
Species: Petrosaltator rozeti [LC] North African Sengi
Genus: Macroscelides Round-eared Sengis
Species: Macroscelides flavicaudatus [LC] Namib round-eared sengi
Species: Macroscelides micus [LC] Etendeka round-eared Sengi
Species: Macroscelides proboscideus [LC] Karoo round-eared sengi
Genus: Elephantulus Long-eared Sengis
Species: Elephantulus brachyrhynchus [LC] Short-snouted Sengi
Species: Elephantulus edwardii [LC] Cape Sengi
Species: Elephantulus fuscipes [DD] Dusky-footed Sengi
Species: Elephantulus fuscus [DD] Dusky Sengi
Species: Elephantulus intufi [LC] Bushveld Sengi
Species: Elephantulus myurus [LC] Eastern Rock Sengi
Species: Elephantulus pilicaudus [DD] Karoo Rock Sengi
Species: Elephantulus revoili [DD] Somali Sengi
Species: Elephantulus rufescens [LC] Rufous Sengi
Species: Elephantulus rupestris [LC] Western Rock Sengi

Macroscelidea References

Corbet, G.B. and J. Hanks. 1968. A revision of the elephant-shrews, Family Macroscelididae. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History, Zoological Series 16:1-111.

Corbet, G.B. 1971. Family Macroscelididae. Part 1.5, pp. 1-6 in J. Meester and H.W. Setzer (eds). The Mammals of Africa: An Identification Manual. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., USA.

Dumbacher, J.P., G.B. Rathbun, H.A. Smit, and S.J. Eiseb. 2012. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the round-eared sengis or elephant-shrews, genus Macroscelides (Mammalia, Afrotheria, Macroscelidea). PLoS ONE 7(3):e32410 (12 pp + 4 pp. supplement table).

Dumbacher, J.P., Rathbun, G.B., Osborne, T.O., Griffin, M., & Eiseb, S.J. (2014) A new species of round-eared sengi (genus Macroscelides) from Namibia. Journal of Mammalogy, 95, 443-454.

Rathbun, G.B. 2009. Why is there discordant diversity in sengi (Mammalia: Afrotheria: Macroscelidea) taxonomy and ecology? African Journal of Ecology 47:1-13.

Rathbun, G.B. and J. Kingdon. 2006. The etymology of “SENGI”. Afrotherian Conservation – Newsletter of the IUCN-SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group:4:14-15.

Rovero, F., G. B. Rathbun, A. Perkin, T. Jones, D. Ribble, C. Leonard, R. R. Mwakisoma, and N. Doggart. 2008. A new species of giant sengi or elephant-shrew (genus Rhynchocyon) highlights the exceptional biodiversity of the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. Journal of Zoology, London 274:126-133.

Schlitter, D.A. 2005. Order Macroscelidea. Pp. 82-85 in Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition. Wilson, D. E. and D.M. Reeder (eds.).  Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 2142 pp.

Smit, H. A., T. J. Robinson, J. Watson, and B. Jansen van Vuuren. 2008. A new species of elephant- shrew (Afrotheria: Macroscelidea: Elephantulus) from South Africa. Journal of Mammalogy 89:1257-1269.

Order: Tubulidentata (1 species)
Family: Orycteropodidae  
Genus: Orycteropus  
Species: Orycteropus afer [LC] Aardvark

Tubulidentata References

Lehmann, T. 2009. Phylogeny and systematics of the Orycteropididae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 155:649-702.

Meester, J. 1971. Order Tubulidentata. Part 10, pp. 1-2 in J. Meester and H.W. Setzer (eds). The Mammals of Africa: An Identification Manual. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., USA.

Schlitter, D.A.  2005. Order Tubulidentata.  Pp. 86 in Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition. Wilson, D. E. and D.M. Reeder (eds.).  Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 2142 pp.

Order: Hyracoidea (5 species) Hyraxes or Dassies
Family: Procaviidae  
Genus: Dendrohyrax Tree Hyraxes
Species: Dendrohyrax arboreus [LC] Southern Tree Hyrax
Species: Dendrohyrax dorsalis [LC] Western Tree Hyrax
Species: Dendrohyrax validus [LC] Eastern Tree Hyrax
Genus: Heterohyrax  
Species: Heterohyrax brucei [LC] Yellow-spotted Hyrax
Genus: Procavia  
Species: Procavia capensis [LC] Rock Hyrax

Hyracoidea References

Shoshani, J.  2005. Order Hyracoidea.  Pp. 87-89 in Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition. Wilson, D. E. and D.M. Reeder (eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 2142 pp.

Schlitter, D. A., 1993, Order Hyracoidea. In: Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (eds. D. E. Wilson & D. M. Reeder) (Second Edition). Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. pp. 373-374.

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