Black-footed tree-rat

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Black-footed tree-rat
Black-footed Tree-rat.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Mesembriomys
Species: M. gouldii
Binomial name
Mesembriomys gouldii
Gray, 1843
Synonyms

Hapalotis hirsutus Gould, 1842

The black-footed tree-rat also known as Djintamoonga[2] (Mesembriomys gouldii) is one of two endemic arboreal rat species from the genus Mesembriomys found in the northern regions of Australia.

The species is one of the largest murids found in Australia.[3] It is a folivore and frugivore and its diet may be supplemented by invertebrates such as termites and molluscs.

The tree rat has a greyish-brown coat that is shaggy and coarse and has a creamy white underbelly. The hind feet are back and they have well developed pads and strong sharp claws. They also large ears and a long tail with a brush of white hair at the tip.[3] They grow up to a mass of 830 grams (29 oz).[4] The height of the rat is typically 250 to 310 millimetres (9.8 to 12.2 in) with a length of 320 to 420 millimetres (13 to 17 in).[5]

Mesembriomys gouldii has a range extending from the savannahs of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland westward to the Kimberley region of Western Australia.[5] Habitats such as tropical woodlands or open forest are suitable for the tree rat.[4] It is not commonly found across the area and the population has been reduced between 30 to 50% in the last decade.[5] The estimated population is 30,000.[5]

The tree rat is solitary and nocturnal, it is arboreal sheltering in tree hollows and pandanus stands during the day.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woinarski, J., Winter, J. & Burbidge, A. (2008). Mesembriomys gouldii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  2. ^ "Mesembriomys gouldii gouldii — Black-footed Tree-rat (Kimberley and mainland Northern Territory), Djintamoonga". Biodiversity - Species Profile and Threats Database. Department of the Environment. 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Black-footed tree-rats" (PDF). Northern Territory Government. July 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Brydie Hill (2012). "Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - Mesembriomys gouldii" (PDF). Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Black-footed Tree-rat". Australian Wildlife Conservancy. 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. pp. 894–1531 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.