Open main menu

The subfamily Deomyinae consists of four genera of mouse-like rodents that were placed in the subfamilies Murinae and Dendromurinae until very recently. They are sometimes called the Acomyinae, particularly in references that antedate the discovery that the link rat, Deomys ferugineus, is part of the clade. Deomyinae is the older name and therefore has priority over Acomyinae.

Temporal range: Early Pliocene - recent
Eastern spiny mouse (Acomys dimidiatus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Deomyinae
Thomas, 1888


Deomyines share no morphological characteristics that can be used to separate them from other muroids, though subtle aspects of the third upper molar have been suggested. This subfamily is united solely on the basis of shared genetic mutations. These conclusions have demonstrated good statistical support using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, and DNA-DNA hybridization.

Because of the lack of physical characteristics supporting this group, it is very possible that the subfamily as it is currently recognized is subject to enlargement. Many of the genera currently placed in the Murinae or Dendromurinae have never been included in a molecular phylogenetic analysis. Potential surprises await when they are.

All genera are found in Africa, suggesting the deomyines may have originated there. The spiny mice, Acomys spp., are also found in Asia.

The four genera and 54 species included in the Deomyinae are:


  • Chevret, P., C. Denys, J.-J. Jaeger, J. Michaux, AND F. M. Catzeflis. 1993. Molecular evidence that the spiny mouse (Acomys) is more closely related to gerbils (Gerbillinae) than to the true mice (Murinae). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 90:3433-3436.
  • Jansa, S. A. and M. Weksler. Phylogeny of muroid rodents: relationships within and among major lineages as determined by IRBP gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 31:256-276.
  • Michaux, J., A. Reyes, and F. Catzeflis. 2001. Evolutionary history of the most speciose mammals: molecular phylogeny of muroid rodents. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 17:280-293.
  • Steppan, S. J., R. A. Adkins, and J. Anderson. 2004. Phylogeny and divergence date estimates of rapid radiations in muroid rodents based on multiple nuclear genes. Systematic Biology, 53:533-553.