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Scott J. Steppan
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taxon links [up-->]Rattini [up-->]Arvicanthine group [up-->]Hydromyini [up-->]Phloeomyini [up-->]Praomyini [down<--]Muroidea Interpreting the tree
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This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

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Tree based primarily on nuclear DNA phylogenies of Rowe et al. (2008; GHR, BRCA1, RAG1, BDR, IRBP, AP5, plus 4 mitochondrial genes), Steppan et al. (2004; GHR, BRCA1, RAG1, c-myc), Lecompte et al., (2008; GHR, IRBP, cyt b), Jansa and Weksler (2004; IRBP), Watts and Baverstock (1995; DNA-DNA hybridization), and the morphological study of Musser and Heaney (1992). The classification follows that proposed by Lecompte et al., (2008) where possible.
Containing group: Muroidea


The Old World Murinae contain well over 570 species and 125 genera. Phylogenetics for this group have been perhaps the most difficult to unravel of all major groups of mammals, to a large extent because of this high level of diversity that evolved over a relatively short time period. Many genera are not listed here for lack of sufficient information.

It should be noted that Mus and Rattus, containing the two most common laboratory species, do not represent two branches of the earliest split in Murinae. Their two lineages diverged several million years after the initial radiation and as part of a rapid diversification that may be associated with the expansion of murines from Southeast Asia into Africa, Australia, and Eurasia.


Carleton, M. D., Musser, G. G., 1984. Muroid rodents, in: Anderson, S. and Jones, J. K., Jr. (Eds.), Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 289-379.

Ducroz, J. F., Volobouev, V., Granjon, L., 2001. An assessment of the systematics of arvicanthine rodents using mitochondrial DNA sequences: evolutionary and biogeographic implications. J. Mamm. Evol. 8, 173-206.

Hanni, C., Laudet, V., Barriel, V., Catzeflis, F. M., 1995. Evolutionary relationships of Acomys and other murids (Rodentia, Mammalia) based on complete 12S ribosomal-RNA mitochondrial gene-sequences. Isr. J. Zool. 41, 131-146.

Jacobs, L. L., Downs, W. R., 1994. The evolution of murine rodents in Asia, in: Tomida, Y., Li, C. K. and Setoguchi, T. (Eds.), Rodent and lagomorph families of Asian origins and diversification, National Science Museum Monographs, Tokyo, 149-156.

Jacobs, L. L., Flynn, L. J., Downs, W. R., Barry, J. C., 1990. "Quo vadis, Antemus?" The Siwalik muroid record, in: Lindsay, E. H., Fahlbusch, V. and Mein, P. (Eds.), European Neogene Mammal Chronology, Plenum Press, New York, 573-586.

Jansa, S. A., and M. Weksler. 2004. Phylogeny of muroid rodents: relationships within and among major lineages as determined by IRBP gene sequences. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 31:256-276.

Lecompte, E., Aplin, K., Denys, C., Catzeflis, F., Chades, M., and Chevret, P. 2008. Phylogeny and biogeography of African Murinae based on mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences, with a new tribal classification of the subfamily. BMC Evol. Biol. 8:199.

LeCompte, E., Granjon, L., Denys, C., 2002a. The phylogeny of the Praomys complex (Rodentia: Muridae) and its phylogeographic implications. J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res. 40, 8-25.

LeCompte, E., Granjon, L., Kerbis-Peterhans, J., Denys, C., 2002b. Cytochrome b-based phylogeny of the Praomys group (Rodentia, Murinae): a new African radiation? C. R. Biol. 325, 827-840.

Misonne, X., 1969. African and Indo-Australian Muridae, evolutionary trends. Mus. R. Afrique Cent., Tervuren, Zool. 172, 1-219.

Musser, G. M., Carleton, M. D., 1993. Family Muridae, in: Wilson, D. E. and Reeder, D. M. (Eds.), Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 501-756.

Musser, G.M. and M.D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. In: Wilson, D.E. and D.M. Reeder (Eds.), Mammal Species of the World: a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, third ed. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp. 894-1531.

Musser, G. G., Heaney, L. R., 1992. Philippine rodents: definitions of Tarsomys and Limnomys plus a preliminary assessment of phylogenetic patterns among native Philippine murines (Murinae, Muridae). Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 211, 2-138.

Rowe, K., Reno, M. L., Richmond, D. M., Adkins, R. M., and Steppan, S. J. 2008. Pliocene colonization and adaptive radiations in Australia and New Guinea (Sahul): Multi-locus systematics of the Old Endemic rodents (Muroidea: Murinae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 47:84-101.

Senegas, F., Avery, D. M., 1998. New evidence for the murine origins of the Otomyinae (Mammalia, Rodentia) and the age of Bolt's Farm (South Africa). S. Afr. J. Sci. 94, 503-507.

Steppan, S. J., R. M. Adkins, and J. Anderson. 2004. Phylogeny and divergence-date estimates of rapid radiations in muroid rodents based on multiple nuclear genes. Syst. Biol. 53:533-553

Steppan, S. J., Adkins, R. M., Spinks, P. Q., and Hale, C. 2005. Multigene phylogeny of the Old World mice Murinae reveals distinct geographic lineages and the declining utility of mitochondrial genes compared to nuclear genes. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 37:370-388.

Watts, C. H. S., Baverstock, P. R., 1995. Evolution in the Murinae (Rodentia) assessed by microcomplement fixation of albumin. Aust. J. Zool. 43, 105-118.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Rattus norvegicus
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Wild Rat
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2007 Reg Mckenna
Scientific Name Lemniscomys griselda
Location Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source D5_single-striped_mouse_0476
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2008 Mike LaBarbera
Scientific Name Notomys alexis
Location Warratah Park Animal Sanctuary, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Spinifex Hopping Mouse
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2006 Brian Yap (葉)
About This Page

Scott J. Steppan
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Scott J. Steppan at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Steppan, Scott J. 2008. Murinae. Version 08 September 2008 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Murinae/16536/2008.09.08 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

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