Dorcopsis macleayi Miklouho-Maclay, 1885
- GBIF Backbone Taxonomy
- Dorcopsulus macleayi
Description read at the 29 th April 1885 meeting of the LSNSW. Current name. Macleay’s Forest Wallaby Dorcopsulus macleayi (Miklouho-Maclay, 1885) following Groves (2005). Taxonomic status. Recognised as a valid species since its description. This species was often placed in the genus Dorcopsis throughout the 20 th century.
Comments. The description is based on a single specimen, a stuffed skin with skull extracted. An X-ray image of M. 381 taken in 2012 indicates that the skull has been removed from that specimen (Philp 2016). Skull or dental measurements are not provided in the original description, but an intact skull is illustrated. Selected skull measurements taken from the original hard copy of the illustration are given in Table 6. In the introductory paragraphs of his account, Miklouho-Maclay (1885 c) noted that the skull was badly affected by preservation in brine. The fate of the skull has not been determined and it is not clear if it arrived in the transfer of specimens from Macleay’s premises to Sydney University during 1889 to 1890. We have not found any indication in the taxonomic literature that the skull had been sighted by any workers since the original account. Thomas (1888) tabulated selected cranial measurements, which he stated were measured directly from plate 20 of the original account, and he noted that fig. 8 seems to be incorrectly reproduced at a different scale to figs 5 to 7, said to be of life size. It seems that fig. 8 of the original account was mistakenly printed slightly larger than life size, as reflected by discrepancies between several measurements taken from figs. 6 and 8 (Table 6).
Holotype. M. 381, male, stuffed skin, originally with an extracted skull in poor condition, considered the holotype by Stanbury (1969) and this study. The skull is currently unlocated and from the Mammal Register entry does not appear to have been present when the skin was registered in the 1960 s. The original account states that the specimen was purchased from Mr. Goldie and was in the “ Macleay-Museum ” (= Macleay’s private collection, then at Elizabeth Bay, Sydney). The MAMU 1890 s Catalogue listed a single specimen of this species, with a line entry of “ male, adult, stuffed Port Moresby ” without listing a skull. We suspect that extracted skulls were not listed separately in the Catalogue unless the specimen consisted only of a skull. The fate of the holotype skull remains unknown. The original label states: “ Dorcopsis macleayi (Mikl-Macl.) Macleays Dorcopsis, New Guinea, male ”. The MAMU Mammal Register lists the specimen as “ Skin &? skull ” with the? crossed out. The specimen index card does not record whether the specimen is a skin or skull. Type locality. “ south coast of New Guinea, inland from Hanuabada ” (Miklouho-Maclay), Port Moresby, Central Province, Papua New Guinea.