Skip to main content
Systematic revision of the pocket gopher genus Orthogeomys
Journal of Mammalogy (2016)
  • Theresa A. Spradling, University of Northern Iowa
  • James W. Demastes
  • David J. Hafner
  • Paige L. Milbach
  • Fernando A. Cervantes
  • Mark S. Hafner
Pocket gophers of the genus Orthogeomys show unusually high morphological and ecological diversity compared to other genera in the family Geomyidae. Whereas this diverse group once was divided into 3 genera (Merriam 1895), a revision by Russell (1968) recognized only Orthogeomys, with Merriam’s original genera relegated to subgeneric status as HeterogeomysMacrogeomys, and Orthogeomys. Recent studies have called into question the monophyly of Orthogeomys, as well as the validity of 4 currently recognized Orthogeomys species. To date, the taxonomic validity of only 1 of these species has been verified (Hafner et al. 2014). In this analysis, the first to include all 11 recognized species of the genus, we examine 3 mitochondrial and 2 nuclear gene sequences (4,352 base pairs) and analyze cranial morphology to explore relationships within the genus. Our data support a taxonomic revision that restricts the genus Orthogeomys to a single species (O. grandis) and combines the subgeneraHeterogeomys and Macrogeomys into the resurrected genus, Heterogeomys (7 species). In addition, 3 currently recognized species of Orthogeomys are synonymized as follows: O. cuniculus with O. grandis;H. thaeleri with H. dariensis; and H. matagalpae with H. cherriei. A synonymy and a key to the species of the genera Orthogeomys and Heterogeomys are provided.
  • Heterogeomys,
  • Macrogeomys,
  • mitochondrial DNA,
  • morphology,
  • nuclear DNA,
  • taxonomic revision
Publication Date
February 26, 2016
Citation Information
Theresa A. Spradling, James W. Demastes, David J. Hafner, Paige L. Milbach, et al.. "Systematic revision of the pocket gopher genus Orthogeomys" Journal of Mammalogy Vol. 97 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 405 - 423
Available at: