Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Melomys fraterculus
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1920)
Common Name(s):
English Manusela Melomys, Manusela Mosaic-tailed Rat
Taxonomic Notes: Still known only by the type series (Helgen 2003). Originally described as a species of Uromys, then placed in Pogonomelomys by Rümmler (1938), kept there by Tate (1951), but returned to Melomys by Laurie and Hill (1954). M. fraterculus shares many derived cranial features with the Australian M. cervinipes complex and may be more closely related to the indigenous Australian Melomys than to those on New Guinea (Musser and Carleton 2005). Menzies (1990), however, wrote that "Without more material and additional study it is difficult to say more about it. For the present it is best left in Melomys," and for Flannery (1995) "It may ultimately be necessary to create a new genus for it." Helgen (2003) promised a review in a forthcoming report.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Helgen, K. & Aplin, K.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Critically Endangered because although its extent of occurrence is probably not much greater than 100 km2, all individuals are believed to occur in a single location (Mt. Manusela), and there is presumed to be a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This poorly known species is endemic to Seram island, Indonesia, where it is known only from the type locality of Mt. Manusela at 1,830 m (Musser and Carleton 2005). It may be present at other locations, although this needs to be confirmed, but the species is almost certainly restricted to suitable habitat at elevations above 1,800 m.
Countries occurrence:
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is known from only two specimens collected in 1920 (Helgen 2003).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is thought to be arboreal, and has been found in upper montane, mossy forest in limestone country (Helgen 2003). It is unlikely to occur in heavily modified areas.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is presumed to be threatened by logging operations; desiccation of montane forest through clearance of lowland habitats, and competition, and possible disease transmission from the introduced Rattus rattus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It has been recorded from the Manusela National Park. Further information in general is needed into this species, particularly details are needed into any threats to the species or its habitat.

Citation: Helgen, K. & Aplin, K. 2008. Melomys fraterculus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T13120A3411019. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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