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Preliminary Checklist of the Mammals of the Guiana Shield : Introduction
The Guiana Shield as defined by Hollowell et al. (2001) includes the states in southern Venezuela (Amazonas, Bolívar, and Delta Amacuro), and all of Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana. This region, however, is defined more broadly in a geological context to include this core area and parts of Brazil north of the Amazon River (states of Amapá, Pará, Roraima and Amazonas) and eastern Colombia (departments of Vichada, Guainía and Vaupés), with the western limit reaching Serranía Chiribiquete (Huber, 1994; Gibbs and Barron, 1993). In terms of mammalian biogeography, the Guiana Shield is defined by some authors as a subregion of Amazonia located east of the Rio Negro and north of the Amazon River (e.g., Wallace, 1854; Voss and Emmons, 1996). For the purpose of this study, we restrict our mammal inventory to the area of the Guiana Shield embracing the aforementioned three states in southern Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana (Fig. 1). The areas of northern Brazil and eastern Colombia are relatively unexplored in terms of its flora and fauna, but we hope this paper will stimulate future research on the mammal communities from this region so that a comprehensive revised checklist for the entire region can be compiled in the future.
Much has changed concerning species concepts and distributions since Eisenberg (1989) started his ambitious series on the mammals of the Neotropics, beginning with northern South America. The only other synthesis beyond political boundaries was the influential work of Tate (1939), who focused on the highlands of southern Venezuela, western Guyana, and northern Brazil. Our study is the first attempt to summarize and standardize the current taxonomy of Guiana Shield mammals, and presents coarse-level distributions of the species recorded in the six political units of Fig. 1. The checklist is based on the most recent systematic revisions, which may differ from the concepts of some other mammalogists. It will serve, however, as a starting point for our understanding of species diversity and boundaries in the Neotropics.
The checklist is derived in part from the summary of bats of the Guiana Shield by Lim and Engstrom (2001), in addition to the results of inventories conducted by J. Ochoa G. and other researchers in southern Venezuela. The bat list incorporates many of the recent taxonomic proposals of Simmons and Voss (1998). Nonvolant mammals are based on our work in Guyana (Lim and Engstrom, submitted) and Venezuela (Ochoa), with the systematic updates of Voss et al. (2001). This in turn is complemented with the information provided by publications on the mammals of the Venezuelan Guayana Region (Handley, 1976; Ochoa et al., 1993; Linares, 1998) and Surinam (Husson, 1978). Taxonomic and distributional information can also be found in the recent literature (e.g., Voss and Emmons, 1996), in addition to the ongoing studies of Lew (2001) and Rivas (1998) in Venezuela, H. H. Genoways in Surinam, A. Brosset, P. Charles-Dominique and F. Catzeflis in French Guiana, and other colleagues.
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