New study validates four species designations and describes three new species of Cyclopes
Wednesday 13 December 2017

The taxonomy of Cyclopes didactylus is marked by a confusing history of new names, with few or no references to types, and new subspecies without any verified geographic correspondence. Our Specialist Group member Flávia Miranda and colleagues reviewed the taxonomy of the genus Cyclopes using an integrative approach that combines morphological, morphometric and molecular data.
In their paper entitled “Taxonomic review of the genus Cyclopes Gray, 1821 (Xenarthra: Pilosa), with the revalidation and description of new species”, which was published online on December 11, 2017 in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, they aim to clarify many issues concerning the taxonomy, distribution and conservation status of the valid taxa and describe new previously unrecognized species for the genus.
The authors of this very detailed study examined a total of 287 specimens of Cyclopes, including skins and skulls, housed in 20 natural history collections and 33 samples for molecular analyses. Based on evidence provided by molecular phylogenetics using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, allied with coalescent species delimitation analyses, diagnostic characters of the skull, color patterns and structures of pelage, they suggest that the genus Cyclopes comprises at least seven species. Four previous species designations are considered valid: Cyclopes didactylus (Linnaeus, 1758); C. ida Thomas, 1900; C. catellus Thomas, 1928; and C. dorsalis (Gray, 1865). In addition, three new species are described: Cyclopes thomasi, C. rufus, and C. xinguensis. The results presented in this paper increase the number of extant Xenarthra species from 30 to 36. They have large implications for the conservation status and management practices of silky anteaters.
Miranda, F. R., D. M. Casali, F. A. Perini, F. A. Machado & F. R. Santos (in press). Taxonomic review of the genus Cyclopes Gray, 1821 (Xenarthra: Pilosa), with the revalidation and description of new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx079.

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