range map for two endemic k-rats in central Mexico
Report from the literature, not the field, is all that is in this post. (Sorry.) This is Charles Hood and checking an online mammal journal tonight turned up a range map for two endemic k-rats from central Mexico. One of them has been reported by Venkat and Jon Hall (via two different trip reports), D. phillopsii. The other, D. ornatus, may be new to this site? Forgive me if not; I am not as attentive (and retentive) as Venkat et alia. Authors of article are credited in the attached pdf and this document is provided for educational discussion. If you go to these sites and find something good, be sure to credit the authors in your social media posts and such like. If I did this correctly, the link to the map follows this sentence. k-rat-map
Yes, I agree that the modeled ranges are largely useless and take into account only a small set of habitat parameters, as opposed to the largely more relevant factors Vladimir listed. I’ve heard of this split before and am not too sure what to think as the genetic evidence seems pretty weak but maybe this is a function of lack of research.
Both species have undergone large range contractions in recent years due to near-complete destruction of grasslands on the Central Mexican Plateau. D. phillipsii is now extremely local; its stronghold is the Oriental Basin, centered on Totalco (Veracruz) where Jon Hall and I observed them in 2018 and 2016, respectively. A small population occurs near Cuicatlan in Oaxaca as well. Vladimir’s record at La Cima would be worth following up on as the population around the Valley of Mexico was thought to be extirpated.
As for D. ornatus, the best site is the grassland at Ojuelos de Jalisco. You can reportedly see 5-10 in a few hours of spotlighting. This is a great area for mammals; it’s the best place in the world for White-sided Jackrabbit (20+ reported in a few hours) and has Mexican Ground Squirrel, Osgood’s and Plateau Mice, Southern Pocket Gopher, and other nice stuff. I’d like to go in the next couple of years.
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Kinda shows why range modeling is a fundamentally flawed approach and its results are essentially useless. The modeled ranges are well more extensive than the actual ones, because models don’t take into account interspecific competition, barriers to colonization, and countless other factors many of which are unknown.
Anyway, D. ornatus was common in Valle del Salado, Zacatecas, in 2003, while D. phillipsi occurred above Amecameca, Mexico, in 2003 and in LaCima, DF, in 2012.