Long-standing taxonomic confusion over the identity of Hypudaeus syriacus Brants, 1827, at last resolved

Boris Kryštufek, Gregory Shenbrot, Franc Janžekovič

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In this study we address the taxonomic identity of Hypudaeus syriacus, an arvicoline (Arvicolinae) from the Middle East which was described and named by Anton Brants in 1827. Although the type specimen is preserved, an exact conclusion regarding its identity was not achieved until recently. Currently, syriacus is reported as a synonym of Microtus socialis. Our analysis of the M1 occlusal pattern has convincingly demonstrated that the type clusters with the European snow vole Chionomys nivalis and does not match any species of Microtus from the Middle East. H. syriacus predates Arvicola nivalis Martins, 1842, which is in use for the European snow vole and is therefore the oldest available name for the species. Under the provision specified by Article 23.9.1 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, syriacus is not a forgotten name (nomen oblitum) because several authors writing after 1899 used it as a valid name. Referring to the principle of priority, as stipulated in the Code, the valid name combination for the European snow vole is Chionomys syriacus (Brants, A. (1827). Het geslacht der muizen door Linneaus opgesteld, volgens de tegenswoordige toestand der wettenschap in familien, geslachten en soorten. Akademische Boekdrukkery, Berlyn [Berlin]). We restrict the type locality for syriacus to Mount Sanine in the Mount Lebanon range, northern Lebanon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Chionomys nivalis
  • Middle East
  • geometric morphometrics
  • priority rule
  • type specimen
  • zoological nomenclature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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