Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is largely distributed in West Africa and Central Africa. It is found from Sierra Leone in West Africa to Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa and southward to northern Angola. The eastern range limits are not well resolved. In Tanzania its distribution is patchy, and it is found around high mountains in the appropriate altitudinal and climatic habitat. At Mount Nimba (Guinea) it occurs up to 1,600 m asl.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Type for Lophuromys ansorgei
Catalog Number: USNM 164823
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): J. Loring
Year Collected: 1910
Locality: Rhino Camp, Lado Enclave, Arua, Uganda, Africa
  • Type: Heller, E. 1911 Feb 28. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 56 (17): 10.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits dense, moist grasslands, secondary growth, agricultural fields, abandoned farmlands, swamps and grassy plantations where there is abundant low cover. In primary and secondary forests, it occurs only in patches of grassland and herbaceous cover, most especially in open areas. It is a terrestrial and nocturnal, crepuscular species. This species has both an insectivorous and omnivorous diet.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Boitani, L.

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
It is common and abundant.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no conservation measures in place; in vieew of its wide range it is probably present in some protected areas.
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Wikipedia

Rusty-bellied brush-furred rat

The Rusty-bellied brush-furred rat (Lophuromys sikapusi) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found in Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, arable land, and pastureland.

Habitat[edit]

The range of L. sikapusi species extends from Sierra Leone to the Ivory Coast, Uganda, North Angola, Tanzania, Benin, West Kenya, and Zaire. This species is also found on the northern bank of the Congo River in Zaire.[1]

Out of the Lophuromys rodents, they occupy the largest geographical range. They are highly flexible to adapt to a wide range of habitats of life. Tropical lowland and subtropical land with adequate moisture is their usual habitat. They are dependent on moist grass land habitats, and are absent in very dry land or closed forests. These rodents are also Savannah dwellers that prefer habitat with some brushes.[2]

Morphology[edit]

The rusty-bellied brush furred mice have a dark color coat with stiff textured fur. Their overall body built is a stubby body with short legs. Between the male and females, there is very little sexual dimorphism. The only significant dimorphism is that the males are larger in size in comparison to their female counterparts. An average rusty-bellied brush-furred rat weighs from 45 to 90 grams.[3] They possess a short tail length in comparison to most African rodentia species. L.sikapusi has a shorter tail length than L.angolensis. L.sikapusi possesses an approximately similar head to tail body length ratio in comparison with other African rodents. Compared to Lemniscomys striatus specimens, L. sikapusi has relatively a shorter tail length and hind foot length. Their average tail length is 69 mm, and can be at a maximum of 82 mm.[4] The rostrum resembles a shrewd-like appearance.[3] Their rostrums are slightly logner than the species L.flavopunctatus.[5] Their cheek teeth have three rows of cusps, not only two as seen in Critcetidae, such as rodents like hamsters. Besides hamsters, Critcetidae is a subfamily of Muroidea of rodentia, and it consists of voles, lemmings, and New world rats.[3]

Diet[edit]

The diet of L. sikapusi is characterized by insects such as ants, reptiles, seeds, palms, fibre, soft-bodied invertebrates, and vegetable materials that are abundant in the tropical land environments. [6] Their food resources are limited by dry habitat. The dry habitat may also expose these rodents to predators by depriving them of the shelter they need. On the other hand, the wet season increases disease rate while increasing the abundance of food sources.[1] Approximately 98% of food consumed is used toward maintaining a steady body temperature. Only 2% is used toward building new tissue. The energy dynamic of this animal is characteristic of rodents and mammals that are constantly losing energy through respiratory heat loss. Therefore, they need a high energy source to maintain a stable body temperature.[7]

Digestive system[edit]

The digestive system of this species is unique. There is a distinctive bump along the great curvature in the stomach. It is considered to be a bilocular stomach, that aids in digesting plant-based diets. It allows adaptation to a variety of food sources.[8] The digestive system of L.sikapusi, especially the stomach structure is very similar to Onychomys.[8] The stomach of L.sikapusi does not show insectivorous diet anatomical arrangements.[8] It is thought to aid the young to absorb large amount of milk in their stomach during period of growth. The stomach of L.sikapusi lacks pyloric glands. Their large stomach allows for heavy mixing of bolus after eating. Their stomach also maintains a relatively high pH range so the enzyme salivary amylase may continue to digest carbohydrates, starch, and glycogen from the food consumed.[8] When there is inadequate water intake due to dry climates in the environment, these rodents produce concentrated urine and dry fecal matter to retain water so they may keep themselves hydrated.[9]

Behavior[edit]

L. sikapusi have territorial behavior similar to many African rodents, that engage in fights when placed in close proximity to other rodents. There are bodily damages such as torn ears, and mutilated tails from fights among themselves.[10] This specie of rodents prefer to be alone. Species such as the Mastomys rat are discovered to be competitors to the Lophuromys species.[1]

Growth and reproduction[edit]

This type of brush-furred mice produces large pups, but generally small litters. The young grow very rapidly, and may grow from 8 to 20 grams within the first five days after birth.[7] The average amount of offspring from each litter is two, and it can go up to four pups.[7] The infant rusty-bellied brush-furred mice become active in four to seven days, and their eyes begin to open. The coat is completed growing in a week after birth. The infants weigh about 25 grams by the tenth day. A young rusty bellied brush furred rat is called a pup, nestling, or pinkie. Females are “doe” and males are “buck".They have a gestation period of about 21 days. They may begin breeding at around 2 months of age.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kingdon, Jonathan (1984). "Brush-furred Mice". East African Mammals: an Atlas of Evolution in Africa 2: 371. 
  2. ^ Barnett, Adrian Ashton (2000). "Ecology of rodent communities in agricultural habitats in eastern Sierra Leone: Cocoa groves as forest refugia". Tropical Ecology 42 (2): 127–142. 
  3. ^ a b c Vaughan, Terry A. (1972). Mammalogy. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier. pp. 147–178. 
  4. ^ Olayemi, Ayodeii; Akinpelu (2008). "Diversity and distribution of murid rodent populations between forest and derived savanna sites within south western Nigeria". Biodiversity Conservation 17 (10): 2411–2425. doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9389-1. 
  5. ^ Walter, Verheyen (2000). "Three-Dimensional Geometric Morphometrics of the African Genus Lophuromys (Rodenta Muridae)". Italian Journal of Mammalogy I (1): 145–154. doi:10.4404/hystrix-11.1-4142. 
  6. ^ Cole, L.R. (2009). "Foods and foraging places of rats (Rodentia: Muridae) in the lowland evergreen forest of Ghana". Journal of Zoology 175 (4): 453–471. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1975.tb01411.x. 
  7. ^ a b c d Delaney, M.J. (1974). The Ecology of Small Mammals. New York: McGraw Hill. pp. 20–34. 
  8. ^ a b c d Gunders, Harvey L. (1976). Mammalogy. London, UK: McGraw Hill. pp. 113–388. 
  9. ^ Merritt, Joseph F. (2010). The Biology of Small Mammals. The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 140–167. ISBN 0801879507. 
  10. ^ Vaughan, Terry A (2011). Mammology 5. pp. 214–218. 
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Angolan brush-furred rat

The Angolan brush-furred rat (Lophuromys angolensis) is a species of Brush-furred mouse found in Angola and the southwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Morphology[edit]

The species has a dark color coat with stiff textured fur. Its overall body built is a stubby body with short legs, however it is slightly more slender and long than L. sikapusi. The tail length of L. angolensis is on average 75mm, 6mm longer than L. sikapusi. Between the male and females, there is very little sexual dimorphism. L. angolensis has an average weight of 80% of L. sikapusi,[1] which weighs on average from 45 to 90 grams.[2]

L. angolensis can be distinguished from L. sikapusi by its more slender and shorter rostrum, its somewhat narrower braincase, and its more slender and somewhat shorter upper and lower dental arches. L. angolensis is somewhat smaller than L. sikapusi and L. ansorgei in all craniometrical measures except for its smallest interorbital breadth, its greatest breadth of choanae, and its depth of upper incisor, in which it equals the size of L. sikapusi and L. ansorgei.

Taxonomy[edit]

The species was originally described as Lophuromys sikapusi until 2000, when Walter Verheyen, Theo Diercxk, and Jan Hulselmans released a study describing it as a distinct species, Lophuromys angolensis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Verheyen, Walter; Dierckx, Theo & Hulselmans, Jan (2000). "The brush-furred rats of Angola and southern Congo: description of a new taxon of the Lophuromys sikapusi species complex". Bulletin of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences 70: 253–267. 
  2. ^ Vaughan, Terry A. (1972). Mammalogy. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier. pp. 147–178. 
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Ansorge's brush-furred rat

Ansorge's Brush-furred Rat (Lophuromys ansorgei) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It was identified in 1896 by de Winton[who?] as L. ansorgei. However, it was widely regarded as L. sicapusi until 2000, when Walter Verheyen, Theo Dierckx, and Jan Hulselmans published a study to the Bulletin of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences describing it as a distinct species.[1]

Distribution[edit]

The distribution of the species is not fully known. According to the study by W. Verheyen et al., the species is found in West Africa from the lower reaches of the Congo River in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and in East Africa from Uganda through Western Kenya to Northern Tanzania. However it remains to be seen whether L. ansorgei extends from East Africa along the northern and southern rim of the Congolese Central Forest Block to the lower reaches of the Congo River, or the range along the lower Congo is a historical range of the species.

Taxonomy[edit]

The species was first identified as L. ansorgei in Mumias, Nyanza Province in 1896. It is usually included in L. sicapusi, but W. Verheyen et al. consider it as a distinct species in their study. L. manteufeli (Matschie, 1911) and L. pyrrhus (Heller, 1911) are considered synonyms of L. ansorgei by Mammal Species of the World.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, Don; Reeder, DeeAnn (2005). "Lophuromys ansorgei de Winton, 1896. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1896:607;". Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference 12. JHU Press. p. 1203. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
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