|Scientific Name:||Myomyscus verreauxii (Smith, 1834)|
Myomys verreauxii (Smith, 1834)
The genus Myomyscus is currently represented by three African species, which can be distinguished from the similar Mastomys species based on their longer tail relative to head and body length, whiter ventral colour, and number of nipples (Monadjem et al. 2015), as well as molecular data (Lecompte et al. 2005). Musser and Carleton (2003) suggest that the Myomyscus should be restricted to the type species (M. verreauxii), and a new genus should be described for the remaining taxa (Monadjem et al. 2015). However, further analyses are required before this hypothesis can be confirmed. Verreaux’s Mouse can be easily distinguished from the other Myomyscus species based on its distribution. No subspecies have been described.
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Relton, C., Avery, M. & Palmer, G.|
|Contributor(s):||Wilson, B., Monadjem, A., Avenant, N., Child, M.F., Baxter, R. & Taylor, P.|
This endemic species remains listed as Least Concern in view of its wide (albeit fragmented) distribution within the Western and Eastern Cape, and because its habitat is largely inaccessible and unlikely to be extensively transformed. The estimated extent of occurrence is 150,917 km2. There are no major threats expected to cause range-wide population decline. However, although around 76% of the Western Cape is still considered natural or near-natural, information from the Western Cape Nature Conservation Board indicates that there is a continuing decline in natural habitat from agricultural expansion, especially on lower- to mid-slope areas (below 1,000 m) from planted pastures and rooibos, wine and fruit cultivation, which may impact the species in the future as climate change makes higher elevation habitats more suitable for agriculture. Additionally, there may be localised losses of habitat quality due to the spread of invasive alien species, inappropriate fire regimes, and edge effects associated with agricultural and residential land-uses (for example, use of pesticides and predation from domestic pets). Although the species remains widespread and regularly encountered, proactive mitigation measures, including protected area expansion and habitat restoration, should be continued to counteract habitat loss. Protected area expansion to connect fragmented subpopulations, especially in the low-lying fynbos areas, would especially benefit this endemic species.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
This species is endemic to southwestern South Africa, largely restricted to the Fynbos Biome in the Western Cape Province (Mugo et al. 1995), and partially extending into the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces (Avery and Avery 2011). Their range may extend from the Olifants River in the west to the Knysna district and Plettenberg Bay in the east. They occur in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, fynbos and forests (Monadjem et al. 2010). The estimated extent of occurrence using all records is 150,917 km². Further field surveys are necessary to confirm current occupancy within its range.
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
Although this species has a naturally fragmented distribution and is uncommon, it is regularly recorded and can be locally abundant (Happold 2013). For example, it comprised 50% of small mammals trapped in the forested valleys of the Cederberg, Western Cape (Rautenbach and Nel 1980). No population estimates are currently available.
|Current Population Trend:||Stable|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
This nocturnal species is located within both lowland and montane fynbos vegetation. They have been recorded as fairly abundant in riverine forests, living in scrub on grassy slopes and the edges of forests (Rautenbach and Nel 1980). For example, in the Cederberg region, they are found in forested valleys. In the Knysna area, this species occurs in damp grasslands and vleis, seeking shelter under fallen trees (De Graaff 1981). Happold (2013) describes them as inhabiting meadow banks near the coast, and near fallen trees or in grassy vleis in forests. It is unknown whether disturbed or modified regions form viable habitats for this species, but it has not been recorded from pine plantations (Armstrong et al. 1996).
|Generation Length (years):||1-2|
|Use and Trade:||
This species is not known to be traded or utilised in any form.
The lower-lying areas of this species’ range are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of urban and agricultural expansion (Pence 2014a), while the inaccessible montane portions of its range are unlikely to be extensively transformed. However, climate change may make higher elevations more suitable for agricultural expansion (see below) and thus represents an emerging threat.
This species is present within a number of protected areas of the assessment region, such as the West Coast National Park, De Hoop Nature Reserve and Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve. Although no specific conservation interventions are necessary, this species would benefit from protected area expansion, thus connecting lowland fynbos areas to patches of inaccessible montane habitat. Progress is being made in protected area expansion in the Western Cape, especially in Critical Biodiversity Areas (CBAs) (Pence 2014b). Stewardship on private lands may be particularly promising. For example, the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme has added over 490 km2 to the Western Cape’s formal protected area network since its launch in 2003, by entering into biodiversity agreements with private landowners (Maree et al. 2015). Such agreements should be enhanced through best practice management techniques for both viticulture and biodiversity, a new field dubbed vinecology, which is actively implemented in South Africa (reviewed in Viers et al. 2013).
Recommendations for land managers and practitioners:
2) Estimating population size through density estimates and total natural habitat available. This would enable a threshold of habitat loss to be calculated below which the population is expected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals.
|Citation:||Relton, C., Avery, M. & Palmer, G. 2017. Myomyscus verreauxii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T45097A110021083.Downloaded on 17 December 2017.|