Flores giant rat
|Flores giant rat
Temporal range: Subrecent to Recent
|Holotypes of the Flores Giant Rat (below) and Papagomys theodorverhoeveni (above), with four diagnostic characteristics marked.|
The Flores giant rat (Papagomys armandvillei) is a rodent of the family Muridae that occurs on the island of Flores in Indonesia. It is found in primary, secondary and disturbed forest over a wide range of elevations. Head and body length is 41–45 cm (16–17.5 in) and tail length is 33–70 cm (13–27.5 in), making the Flores giant rat at least twice the size of an average brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) with a 25 cm long body and 15 cm long tail. Flores giant rat, which is the only extant species in the genus Papagomys, was given its Latin name after Dutch Jesuit missionary Kornelis J. F. le Cocq d'Armandville who was stationed in the Dutch East Indies and later in New Guinea.
Guy Musser describes the rat as having small, round ears, a chunky body and a small tail, and as appearing to be adapted for life on the ground with refuge in burrows. The rat has dense dark hair (pelage). Analysis of the teeth of the Flores giant rat suggests that the rat has a diet of leaves, buds, fruit, and certain kinds of insect as inferred by large hypsodont teeth.
P. armandvillei is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List. Threats include subsistence hunting and predation by dogs and cats. A related species, P. theodorverhoeveni, is known from subfossil remains from 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. This species is presumed to be extinct, but may still exist on the island.
- Aplin, K., Helgen, K., Musser, G., Lunde, D., Amori, G. & Ruedas, L. (2008). "Papagomys armandvillei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Musser, G.G.; Carleton, M.D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1430. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2009). "Armandville". The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-8018-9304-9.
- Musser, G. G. (1981-09-24). "The giant rat of Flores and its relatives east of Borneo and Bali". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 169: 67–176. hdl:2246/568.
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