Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae

Scientific Name: Melanomys zunigae
Species Authority: (Sanborn, 1949)
Common Name(s):
English Zuniga's Dark Rice Rat
Oryzomys zunigae Sanborn, 1949

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) A4ac; B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Zeballos, H. & Vivar, E.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) because it has not been seen despite extensive searches over the last 50 years, it is suspected to have undergone, or be undergoing, a population decline estimated to be more than 80% over ten years, the extent of occurrence is inferred to be less than 100 km², all individuals are in a single location, and there is continuing severe decline in the extent and quality of any remaining habitat.
Date last seen: 1949
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from the Lomas de Atocongo, a group of low lying hills close to Lima in the west central Peru (Musser and Carleton, 2005). It was recorded between 600 to 800 m.
Countries occurrence:
Possibly extinct:
Lower elevation limit (metres): 600
Upper elevation limit (metres): 800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It has not been recorded since 1949 despite intense searches for the species. The population is believed to have significantly declined, and the species (if it is still extant) is considered to be still declining because of extensive habitat loss within its small range.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is known only from the distinct Coastal Lomas ecosystem (with desert or dryland habitat). It has not been recorded from modified habitats. It is terrestrial and probably nocturnal.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The area that the species is known from has been heavily disturbed through pastoral (goats) grazing and mining activities. The very specific habitat that the species was recorded from is considered to be almost entirely converted.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It has not been recorded from any protected areas. Further field studies are needed to try to determine whether this species still persists.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Musser, G. G. and Carleton, M. D. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. In: D. E. Wilson and D. A. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: a geographic and taxonomic reference, pp. 894-1531. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Sanborn, C. C. 1949. A new species of rice rat (Oryzomys) from the coast of Peru. Publicaciones del Museo de Historia Natural "Javier Prado" 1(3): 1-4.

Zuniga, E. 1942. Observaciones ecologicas sobre las mamiferas de las lomas. Boletim do Museu Nacional "Javier Prado" 6(22-23): 392-399.

Citation: Zeballos, H. & Vivar, E. 2008. Melanomys zunigae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T13048A3407382. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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