Arguments are presented to demonstrate that Lyon’s (1907) division of the Old World porcupines, family Flystricidae, into two subfamilies is superfluous and provides a distorted classification. Evidence is presented for the point of view that the generic status of Thecurus Lyon, 1907 has been based on quite insufficient arguments, and this taxon is not accorded a higher rank than that of a subgenus. Only three genera are recognized in this family: Trichys Günther, 1877, Atherurus F. Cuvier, 1829, and Hystrix Linnaeus, 1758 with the subgenera Hystrix s.s., Acanthion F. Cuvier, 1823 and Thecurus Lyon, 1907. Data about some south-western Asiatic specimens of Hystrix indica Kerr, 1792 are presented. The main subject of the present paper is the specific distinction within the subgenus Acanthion. Two species are recognized in this taxon: Hystrix brachyura Linnaeus, 1758 from the continent of Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipel, and Hystrix javanica (F. Cuvier, 1823) from Java and a number of the small Sunda Islands. Individual and geographic variation in these species is described. H. javanica is considered monotypic and in H. brachyura at least three subspecies can be recognized. However, a number of specimens cannot be assigned to one of these subspecies and the data available strongly suggest that many differences may be likely to be bridged by intergrading forms when specimens from intermediate localities become available.


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Naturalis journals & series

van Weers, D. J. (1979). Notes on Southeast Asian Porcupines (Hystricidae, Rodentia). IV. On the taxonomy of the subgenus Acanthion F. Cuvier, 1823 with notes on the other taxa of the family. Beaufortia, 29(356), 215–272.