Emmons and Vucetich, 1998
Isothrix picta Pictet, 1841
The painted tree-rat (Callistomys pictus) is a species of spiny rat from Brazil and is the only species in the genus Callistomys. It appears to lack close relatives and is often placed in the genus Isothrix, or, less regularly, Nelomys.
With a total length of ca. 30 cm (12 in), it is a relatively large species of spiny rat. It is white with a strongly contrasting glossy-black cap, back and band down towards its forelimbs. Its long fur is dense and coarse, but not spiny, as in some other members of its family. Specimens often have brown (rather than black) markings, but as far as it's known this is caused by fading and does not occur in the living animals.
Owing to its striking black-and-white pelage, it is virtually unmistakable, but could perhaps be confused with a hairy dwarf porcupine (Sphiggurus sp.) – all of which have spines and lack the distinctive pattern of the painted tree-rat.
Restricted to north-eastern Bahia (often misquoted as S. Bahia) in eastern Brazil.
The painted tree-rat is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN because of its fragmented distribution, its continuing decline and the quality of its habitat. An outlying record was not included in the assessment.
- Neotropical Rainforest Mammals A Field Guide, Second Edition Text by Louise H. Emmons, Illustrations by François Feer
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