New Borneo Mammals Field Guide

I  just received a copy of the new Phillipps’s field guide to the mammals of Borneo.  My first impression is that it looks like a very useful update on the now rather outdated book from Payne and Francis.  If the illustration styles look similar then that’s because Karen Phillipps did the pictures in both.

Not only do the species accounts and plates look good for IDs, there is also some very useful information on where some species are most commonly seen on the island.  I was relieved to see for instance that Poring is a good site to see Smoky Flying Squirrels (a species I recorded there but had a nagging doubt I had misidentified).  Other than that its hard to say much more about a field guide until I have tried to use it in the field.  Look forward to hearing from those who have.

There are a few taxonomic suggestions in the book that I wasn’t sure about.  The first couple I noticed were that the authors have split both Palm Civet species (Common and Small-toothed) into Bornean endemics.  My vague understanding is that splits for both species  are almost certainly coming but that  it might be a bit premature right now as the taxonomy of the complexes needs more work.

They have also split Bornean Colugo away from the mainland flavour on the basis of this work I think.

What do others who understand genetics more than me  (which is pretty much everyone!) think about these splits?







  1. vdinets 6 years ago

    I don’t think it’s kosher to split colugos on molecular clock estimates alone: the group is too isolated for that. Also, the sample size is tiny, there are no specimens from Sumatra, Bornean ones were not included in nuclear DNA analysis, and Indochinese one was only used in skull shape analysis. I’d rather wait for a more detailed study.
    As for the civets, has anything peer-reviewed been published?

    • vdinets 6 years ago

      I don’t have access to the first one (but the authors themselves consider their results to be preliminary). The second one looks convincing enough; I’m updating my personal checklist right now.

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