Dendromus insignis

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Dendromus insignis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Nesomyidae
Genus: Dendromus
Species: D. insignis
Binomial name
Dendromus insignis
(Thomas, 1903)

The Montane African climbing mouse or remarkable climbing mouse (Dendromus insignis) is a species of rodent in the family Nesomyidae.[1] It is found in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.[2]


The montane African climbing mice have short, soft brown to reddish-brown pelage[3] with a dark stripe down the middle of their backs and dark gray or grayish underparts.[2] They have tails that can equal up to 133% of their head and body length, which taper and are covered in scales and short hair.[4]

D. insignis have a typical mymorphous zygomatic arch with a narrow infraorbital foramen, due to the prominence of the lower anterior-positioned masseter muscles—resulting in only three molars in a row and grooved upper incisors.[4]

The hind limbs of the montane African climbing mouse are elongated, with hind feet highly specialized for climbing. D. insignis have a reduced inner proximal foot pad, and a reduced first digit with a nail.[4]

D. insignis is one of the largest species of the genus Dendromus, with head and body length ranges from 76 mm to 90 mm and weigh from 7-20 g,[5] up to 20% larger than other Dendromus species. Additionally, their head is relatively large compared to other genera of rodents, making up about 27% of their head and body length[4] and resulting in longer molar rows.[2]


Behavior and Diet[edit]

The montane African climbing mouse avoids predation by being nocturnal, using its well-adapted hind feet to climb twigs and dense grasses and its long hindlimbs to produce long jumps of up to 45 cm.[4] Its climbing agility is used to contribute to its insectivorous and granivorous diet, and allows for nests to be above ground.[4]

Range and Habitat[edit]

The home range of D. insignis extends through mountainous areas but they generally dwell in heath and alpine zones.[6] They have been documented across a wide range of high altitude locales, including elevations as high as 4240 m.[5] Below 2000 m, grassland meets the montane forest, and D. insignis is less commonly found, as easy-to-climb dense vegetation is reduced.[7]


  1. ^ Dieterlen, Fritz; Kerbis Peterhans, J.; Oguge, N. "Dendromus Insignis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Reeder, Don (2005). Mammal Species of the World : A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (12 ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. p. 937. 
  3. ^ Dieterlen, Fritz (2005). "Climbing mice of the genus Dendromus (Nesomyidae, Dendromurinae) in Sudan and Ethiopia, with the description of a new species". Bonner Zoologische Beiträge. 56: 185–200. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Miljutin, Andrei (2006). "African Climbing Mice (, Muroidea) and Palaearctic Birch Mice (, Dipodoidea): An Example of Parallel Evolution Among Rodents". Acta Zoologica Lituanica. 16 (2): 84–92. doi:10.1080/13921657.2006.10512714. 
  5. ^ a b Stanley, William T.; Rogers, Mary Anne; Kihaule, Philip M.; Munissi, Maiko J. (2014). "Elevational Distribution and Ecology of Small Mammals on Africa's Highest Mountain". PLOS ONE. 9: e109904. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109904. PMC 4220923Freely accessible. PMID 25372387. 
  6. ^ Grimshaw, J.M.; Cordeiro, N.J.; Foley, C.A.H. (1995). "The Mammals of Kilimanjaro". Journal of East African Natural History. 84 (2): 126. doi:10.2982/0012-8317(1995)84[105:tmok];2. 
  7. ^ Clausnitzer, V.; Kityo, R. (2012). "Altitudinal distribution of rodents (Muridae and Gliridae) on Mt Elgon, Uganda". Tropical Zoology. 14 (1): 95–118. doi:10.1080/03946975.2001.10531145.