Summit rat

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Summit rat
Rattus baluensis visiting Nepenthes rajah.png
on a pitcher of Nepenthes rajah
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Genus: Rattus
R. baluensis
Binomial name
Rattus baluensis
(Thomas, 1894)

The summit rat (Rattus baluensis) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found only on Mount Kinabalu and Mount Tambuyukon[2], Malaysia, and has been recorded at altitudes of between 1,524 and 3,810 m.[3]. The rat populations from these two peaks were connected in the Holocene. However, nowadays they are genetically isolated despite they are only 18 Km apart[4]. With current predictions of Global warming, the suitable habitat for Rattus baluensis is expected to shift around 500 m upwards. This will put the population in Mount Tambuyukon at risk. However, the population in Mount Kinabalu will likely survive in its upper slopes.[4]

The summit rat has a mutualistic relationship with a species of giant pitcher plant, Nepenthes rajah. Like the treeshrew Tupaia montana, it defecates into the plant's traps while visiting them to feed on sweet, fruity secretions from glands on the pitcher lids.[5][6]


  1. ^ Aplin, K. (2016). "Rattus baluensis". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T19323A22443731. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T19323A22443731.en. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  2. ^ Hawkins MTR*, Camacho-Sanchez M*, Tuh Yit Yuh F, Maldonado JE, Leonard JA. 2018. Small mammal diversity along two neighboring Bornean mountains. PeerJ Preprints 6:e26523v1
  3. ^ Baillie, J. 1996. Rattus baluensis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 19 July 2007.
  4. ^ a b Miguel Camacho-Sanchez, Irene Quintanilla, Melissa T. R. Hawkins, Fred Y. Y. Tuh, Konstans Wells, Jesus E. Maldonado and Jennifer A. Leonard. 2018. "Interglacial refugia on tropical mountains: novel insights from the summit rat (Rattus baluensis), a Borneo mountain endemic". Diversity and Distributions, 24: 1252-1266.
  5. ^ Greenwood, M., C. Clarke, C.C. Lee, A. Gunsalam & R.H. Clarke 2011. A unique resource mutualism between the giant Bornean pitcher plant, Nepenthes rajah, and members of a small mammal community. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21114. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021114
  6. ^ Wells, K., M.B. Lakim, S. Schulz & M. Ayasse 2011. Pitchers of Nepenthes rajah collect faecal droppings from both diurnal and nocturnal small mammals and emit fruity odour. Journal of Tropical Ecology 27(4): 347–353. doi:10.1017/S0266467411000162