Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Rattus montanus
Species Authority: Phillips, 1932
Common Name(s):
English Sri Lankan Mountain Rat, Nillu Rat, Nellu Rat
Taxonomic Notes: Ellerman (1961) included this species under subgenus Rattus Fischer, 1803. Corbet and Hill (1992) remark that “it has been suggested that this name might be based upon a ‘sample of extremely large Rattus rattus kelaarti males’ (McKay, 1984) but the teeth are very distinctive and preclude that possibility, a conclusion supported by Musser (1986)”. Phillips (1980) gives a detailed account of this species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): de A. Goonatilake, W.I.L.D.P.T.S. & Molur, S.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Endangered, because its extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km² and its area of occupancy is less than 500 km², its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Sri Lanka in Central and Uva provinces, restrcited to four highly fragmented locations (knuckles, Horton Plains, Nuwara Eliya and Ohiya) in the central highlands (Phillips 1980; Molur et al. 2005; D. Wickramasinghe in litt. 2005, W.I.L.D.P.T.S. de A. Goonatilake in litt. 2005). It occurs at elevations from 1,320 to 2,310 m asl (Molur et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Sri Lanka
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 11-500
Number of Locations: 4
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1320
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2310
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no information available on the population abundance of this species (Molur et al. 2005).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a diurnal or crepuscular, terrestrial species. It occurs in tropical evergreen montane forest and wet grasslands (Molur et al. 2005).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and degradation due to expansion of agriculture, fire and clear-cutting of forests have been observed to be the major threats for this species (Molur et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is not protected by any legislation. It has been recorded from Horton Plains National Park and Knuckles Forest Reserve. General field surveys, research into the natural history and monitoring of populations are recommended for this species (Molur et al. 2005).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 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
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: a Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Ellerman, J. R. and Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. 1951. Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. British Museum (Natural History), London, UK.

Molur, S., Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Walker, S., Nameer, P. O. and Ravikumar, L. 2005. Status of non-volant small mammals: Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P) workshop report. Zoo Outreach Organisation / CBSG-South Asia., Comibatore, India.

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.

Phillips, W. W. A. 1980. Manual of the Mammals of Sri Lanka. Part 1. Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka.

Citation: de A. Goonatilake, W.I.L.D.P.T.S. & Molur, S. 2008. Rattus montanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19348A8862075. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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