Rhabdomys dilectus

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Mesic four-striped grass rat
Muridae - Rhabdomys dilectus.JPG
At the Prague Zoo
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Genus: Rhabdomys
R. dilectus
Binomial name
Rhabdomys dilectus
De Winton, 1897
  • Rhabdomys algoae Roberts, 1946
  • Rhabdomys angolae (Wroughton, 1905)
  • Rhabdomys bethuliensis Roberts, 1946
  • Rhabdomys chakae (Wroughton, 1905)
  • Rhabdomys cradockensis Roberts, 1946
  • Rhabdomys diminutus (Thomas, 1893)
  • Rhabdomys griquoides Roberts, 1946
  • Rhabdomys moshesh (Wroughton, 1905)
  • Rhabdomys nyasae (Wroughton, 1905)
  • Rhabdomys vaalensis Roberts, 1946 [1]

The mesic four-striped grass rat (Rhabdomys dilectus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.[2]


Traditionally the genus Rhabdomys has been seen as a single species, Rhabdomys pumilio, though modern evidence on the basis of karyotype and mtDNA analysis suggests that it comprises a second species, Rhabdomys dilectus .[3]

R. dilectus is divided in the following subspecies.


Rhabdomys dilectus is a fairly typical smallish murid, rather larger than house mice. Head+body length is between 90 and 135 mm, the length of the tail between 80 and 135 mm, the length of the foot between 17 and 33 mm, the length of the ears between 10.0 and 20 mm and the weight up to 68 g.[4]

The back is dark reddish-brown and displays characteristic black longitudinal stripes.[5] The stripes inspired the generic name, which is derived from the Greek rhabdos meaning rod, giving Rhabdomys, meaning something like "barred mouse". The ventral sides are lighter. The legs are dark grizzled. The tail is shorter than the head and body. It is a terrestrial species, crepuscular and solitary. It feeds mainly on seeds of wheat and partly on plants, berries and small invertebrates. It is considered a plague by farmers.


It is found throughout southern Africa.


He lives in the wetter mountain savannas up to 2,300 meters above sea level. It is often found in cultivated fields and in urban areas inside the houses.


  1. ^ Biolib
  2. ^ 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. pp. 1495–1496. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ Castiglia, R., Solano, E., Makundi, R. H., Hulselmans, J., Verheyen, E. and Colangelo, P. (2011), Rapid chromosomal evolution in the mesic four-striped grass rat Rhabdomys dilectus (Rodentia, Muridae) revealed by mtDNA phylogeographic analysis. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2011.00627.x
  4. ^ Jonathan Kingdon, East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa, Volume 2, Part B, University of Chicago Press, 1974
  5. ^ Mills, Gus & Hes, Lex (1997). The Complete Book of Southern African Mammals. Cape Town: Struik Publishers.