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Sigmodon hirsutus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA CRICETIDAE

Scientific Name: Sigmodon hirsutus
Species Authority: (Burmeister, 1854)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Cotton Rat
Taxonomic Notes: Formerly considered part of Sigmodon hispidus (see Voss 1992). S. hirsutus was reinstated based on genetic separation by Peppers and Bradley (2000); following Carroll et al. (2005), S. hirsutus includes all cotton rats occurring in southern Chiapas (Mexico), through Central America, and into northern Colombia and Venezuela.

Carroll et al. (2005) recommend all former subspecies of S. hispidus in this region be reassigned as subspecies of S. hirsutus (this includes boracae, chiriquensis, griseus, hirsutus, and zanjonensis). They also state that it is uncertain whether specimens from southern Chiapas should be assigned to S. hirsutus zanjonensis or whether they represent a new subspecies. They refer these samples as S. hirsutus ssp. Until the issue can be resolved. Note, however, that Musser and Carleton (2005) assign zanjonensis specific status (S. zanjonensis).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Delgado, C., Aguilera, M., Timm, R. & Samudio, R.
Reviewer(s): McKnight, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority)
Justification:
Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, lack of major threats, and because it is unlikely to be in decline.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs from southern Chiapas, Mexico, through Central America (excluding Belize), and into northern Colombia and northern Venezuela (Linares, 1998; Peppers and Bradley 2000; Carroll et al. 2005). Musser and Carleton (2005) state that its northern limits are uncertain, but they include subspecies found as far north as El Salvador. Using genetic analysis, Carroll et al. (2005) refer all subspecies formerly assigned to S. hispidus occurring in Central America and southern Chiapas, Mexico, to S. hirsutus. This includes one subspecies, S. hirsutus zanjonensis, found in the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala, to which Musser and Carlton (2005) assign species status.
Countries:
Native:
Colombia; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is common to abundant in grassland, clearings and brush (Reid, 1997). Common in agricultural areas, especially sugarcane. It has increased its distribution over the past several decades. However, the population fluctuates greatly.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in tropical rainforest and dry forest, and is primarily found in the lowlands (however, see reference to the subspecies S. h. zanjonensis, which occurs in highlands). It is often found in sugarcane fields and wet cattle pastures.

This rat is mainly active during the day but may also be active at night if population is high. It feeds on green plant material, fungi, some seeds, and insects (Alvarez et al. 1984). Its nests are usually built under cover of logs, rocks, or dense clumps of grass. Occasionally, short burrows dug by other mammals are used as nest sites (Reid 1997). It is preyed upon by barn owl (Delgado and Cataño B. 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There does not appear to be any major threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It occurs in several protected areas. Further taxonomic research in needed to determine whether any of the subspecies of S. hirsutus should receive specific status.

Citation: Delgado, C., Aguilera, M., Timm, R. & Samudio, R. 2008. Sigmodon hirsutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 July 2014.
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