Zaglossus bartoni smeenki, T. F. Flannery & C. P. Groves, 1998

T. F. Flannery & C. P. Groves, 1998, A revision of the genus Zaglossus (Monotremata, Tachyglossidae), with description of new species and subspecies, Mammalia 62 (3), pp. 367-396: 383-384

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Zaglossus bartoni smeenki

n. ssp.

Zaglossus bartoni smeenki   n. ssp.

(Appendix 1, Figs 6 - 7)

Holotype: AM M96822, adult male skin and skeleton, collected near Marua Point, 20 km SW of Collingwood Bay, PNG, by Mr G. Leach, 12 July 1972.

Etymology: For Dr Chris Smeenk, curator of mammals at the Rijksmuseum of Natural History, Leiden, whose legendary' courtesy and hospitality to visiting researchers has been of enormous assistance to both of us at different times.

Diagnosis: The smallest subspecies, invariably possessing five claws on each foot. It is significantly smaller (at 0.05) than all other Z. bartoni in   all dimensions, except for RBR and IOW in Z. b. clunius.  

Distribution: Restricted to the mountains of the Nanneau Range, as far west as the Collingwood Bay District in eastern Papua New Guinea ( Fig. 1). It has been recorded from 1,540 m elevation on Mt Dayman (AMNH 157072), about 200 m (UP 729) and 1670 metres on Mt Suckling (RMNH 23319). A note on this latter specimen states “ Common in open forests (. Araucaria   ), grasslands ( Deschampsia   ) and riverbanks up to the summits (3676 m). J.F. Veldkamp ”.

Specimens seen; 6 adult skulls, two skins.

Description: The fur of the holotype is dark brown in colour, lightening towards the feet and base of the beak to buff. The spines are white, and fur obscures them over most of the back. There are no spines at all on the venter, The tail forms a small, naked nub, the skin of which is, like that of the hands, feet and beak, brown. The skull is small and the rostrum delicate ( Fig. 6 and 7 View Fig. 7 ).

Discussion: Very little is known of this, the smallest subspecies of Z. bartoni   . All sexed specimens known are males. It must abut or intergrade with Z. h. bartoni   in the Owen Stanley Ranges between the Efogi area and Collingwood Bay. The ranges are lower in this area than to the east and west. If it proves to overlap rather than intergrade with Z. b. bartoni   , it will have to be awarded full specific status.

Few other mammals have a distribution similar to Z. b. smeenki. Murexia longicandata, Microperoryctes papuensis   and Peroryctes broadbenti   are all restricted to southeastern Papua, but all extend slightly further west (at least to the Port Moresby area).