Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Nilopegamys plumbeus
Species Authority: Osgood, 1928
Common Name(s):
English Ethiopian Amphibious Rat, Ethiopian Water Mouse
Taxonomic Notes: This species was long considered to be a synonym of Colomys goslingi Thomas and Wroughton, 1907. It was resurrected by Kerbis Peterhans and Patterson, 1995.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Kerbis Peterhans, J. & Lavrenchenko, L.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) because, it is only known from one specimen trapped near the source of the Little Abbai in north western Ethiopia and further surveys have been unable to locate this species. It is a water-adapted, insectivorous rodent and is therefore likely to occur at low densities. The species occurs in an area where the habitat has been destroyed through overgrazing by livestock. There is a possibility that it might even be extinct.
Date last seen: 1920s
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)
2002 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The only known specimen was trapped near the source of the Little Abbai River (flows into Lake Tana and then into the Blue Nile), at Gojjam, north western Ethiopia (11°7'20"N, 37°12'40"W). It was collected at an elevation of 2,600 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Lower elevation limit (metres): 2600
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is known from a single specimen, and it may now be extinct. Leonid Lavrenchenko (pers. comm.) has attempted to recollect this species on two occasions (Duane Schlitter has also tried, but without any success).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It was recorded from highland, riparian habitat (Nowak, 1999) and the species represents the most extreme adaptation to an aquatic environment amongst the African Murids.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The habitat was already severely degraded when the type specimen was collected in the 1920s. Leonid Lavrenchenko (pers. comm.) confirms that the area today is pure pastureland.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are currently no active conservation measures in place. The species does not occur in any protected area (Yalden et al. 1996). Further searches for this species are urgently needed.

Citation: Kerbis Peterhans, J. & Lavrenchenko, L. 2008. Nilopegamys plumbeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T40766A10363474. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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