I have just uploaded an updated global mammal checklist (here). The first update in 12 months.
The checklist began life as something primarily based on the IUCN Red List. But the Red List taxonomy is sometimes quite out of date for some groups of species, so I am moved to using the American Society of Mammalogists’ (ASM) Mammal Diversity Database (MDD) as a foundation. This list is updated every few months by a team of students (thank you!).
The biggest addition to the list – again courtesy of the work in the MDD – is including country ranges for every species. This will be a help for IDing species.
You can read more about the MDD team’s approach to taxonomic decisions here. You might not agree to them all but the database gives citations for every change so you can make you own assessment. It also flags changes that are still tentative. Inevitably – because (shock) taxonomists can also disagree – some of their choices are subjective. Perhaps the most notable is their decision not to recognize many of the ‘new’ ungulates that appeared in the Handbook of the Mammals of the World. This taxonomy has proven controversial for many of us, because it is based “primarily on qualitative morphological diagnoses with small sample sizes”. My checklist follows the ASM on this.
I have included a handful of species that are not on their list (largely because I have been told they will soon be formally described) and excluded a handful of others that the ASM recognize as still tentative or just because I was a bit sceptical (warning – I am not well qualified to have an informed opinion!).
There are plenty of name and genus changes. About 150 new – or newly split – species have been added and more than 50 have been dropped or lumped. The net result is a global mammal list that has increased by almost 100 species since January 2021: now at 6389 species.
Changes that I’ve made are listed on a second worksheet in the Excel spreadsheet.
Some splits that gave my list a boost include
Coppery Brushtail Possums – common on the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns, Australia
Reticulated Giraffes – from northern Kenya and elsewhere
Merriam’s Long-tongued Bat – through Central America, split from Common Long-tongued Bat.
But – horror – I lost more than I gained.
In the USA, the Northern and Southern Idaho Ground Squirrels are now lumped as one species, as are the Robust and Manzano Mountains Cottontails (which I’d seen in Big Bend Texas and close to Albuquerque respectively).
In Africa, Harvey’s Duiker (which I’ve seen in Kenya and Tanzania) is now lumped with Natal Red Duiker (from further south).
European changes include lumping the Montane Water Vole (the species Wildcats hunt in the Picos de Europa) with the widespread European Water Vole.
A reminder that you can keep your sightings and list uptodate using the excellent, and free, Scythebill software, which has already updated its mammal taxonomy using this list. They too have incuded the country range information for each species.
As always happy to get comments, corrections and queries which I can look at before the next update. Vladimir Dinets also regularly posts on the site about the very latest taxonomy news.