Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Chinese (Simplified) (1) (learn more)

Overview

Distribution

Global Range: Native to southeastern Asia, west to eastern Bangladesh, and many islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean (Roberts 1991; Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005); most Pacific insular occurrences result from inadvertent or intentional introduction or possibly natural rafting (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005). Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, Kure Atoll, Popoia, Mokumanu, Kaula; Niihau?

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Polynesian rats (Rattus exulans) have an extensive distribution from Southeast Asia and New Guinea through the Pacific. They spread to several thousands islands in the western and central Pacific Ocean through the colonizing efforts of the Polynesian people. The rats were carried along on the large sea-going canoes with pigs, dogs and jungle cocks.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Introduced , Native ); oriental (Introduced , Native ); australian (Introduced ); oceanic islands (Introduced )

  • Tobin, M. 1994. Polynesian Rats. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage: 121-124.
  • Walton, D., J. Brooks, K. Thinn, U. Tun. 1980. Reproduction in Rattus exulans in Rangoon, Berma. Mammalia, 44/3: 349-360.
  • Dwyer, P. 1978. A study of Rattus exulans in the New Guinea highlands. Australian Wildlife Research, 5/2: 221-248.
  • Masaharu, M., L. Kau-Hung, H. Masashi, L. Liang-Kong. 2001. New records of Polynesial Rat Rattus exulans (Mammalia:Rodentia) from Taiwan and the Ryukyus. Zoological Studies, 40/4: 299-304.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 3.0 of 5

Range Description

This species is widespread throughout both mainland and insular Southeast Asia (including the islands of Taiwan, Sumatra, Java, Bali and Borneo) (Corbet and Hill 1992; Musser and Carleton 2005). It is likely introduced and widespread in the Philippines and several Indonesian islands (including Sulawesi, Buru, Lombok, Sumbara, Flores), the island of New Guinea (approximate range only given). It has also been widely introduced throughout the Pacific (Corbet and Hill 1992; Musser and Carleton 2005). It is now extinct from North Island, New Zealand (Flannery 1995). The map for this species depicts only an estimate of the species extensive range.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Unknown

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Rattus exulans has a slender body, pointed snout, large ears and relatively delicate feet. Its back is a ruddy-brown color, with a whitish belly. Mature Polynesian rats are 11.5 to 15.0 cm long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Average weoght is between 40 and 80 g. The tail has fine, prominent, scaly rings, and is about the same length as the head and body combined. Female R. exulans have eight nipples. The skull size has been shown to vary with latitudem with those from cooler climates being larger than those living in warmer climates. A useful feature to distinguish this rat from other species is a dark outer edge on the upper side of the hind foot near the ankle while the rest of the foot is pale.

Range mass: 40 to 80 g.

Range length: 11.5 to 15 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type Information

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 277317
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. Cassel & R. Roecker
Year Collected: 1944
Locality: Gilolo Group, Morotai Island [= Pulau Morotai], 1 mi N of Wama, Moluccas, Maluku, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Kellogg, R. 1945 May 07. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 58: 65.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 125229
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull; Remainder in Fluid
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1904
Locality: Mount Apo, summit W peak, Mindanao, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 2957
  • Type: Mearns, E. A. 1905 May 13. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 28: 447.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 125216
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1904
Locality: Mount Apo, Mindanao, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 2316
  • Type: Mearns, E. A. 1905 May 13. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 28: 446.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 3731
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Unknown;
Preparation: Skin
Collector(s): Collector Unknown
Locality: Fiji, South Pacific Ocean
  • Type: Peale, T. R. 1848. Mammalia and Ornithology. United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842 under the command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. 8: 49.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 125224
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1904
Locality: Mount Apo, Todaya, Mindanao, Davao del Sur Province, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 1219
  • Type: Mearns, E. A. 1905 May 13. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 28: 445.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 114184
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1901
Locality: Simalur Island [= Pulau Simeulue], Sibaloh Bay, Sumatra, Aceh, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1903 Feb 03. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 26: 460.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 199927
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): H. Raven
Year Collected: 1914
Locality: Kwangdang, Molengkapoti, Celebes, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. & Hollister, N. 1921 Mar 31. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 34: 69.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 199976
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): H. Raven
Year Collected: 1914
Locality: Toli Toli [= Tolitoli], Celebes, Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. & Hollister, N. 1921 Mar 31. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 34: 68.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 175900
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): R. Andrews
Year Collected: 1909
Locality: Bouru Island [= Pulau Buru], Moluccas, Maluku, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Allen, J. A. 1911 Dec 21. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 30: 336.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type; Renamed for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 101764
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Pulo [= Pulau] Tioman, Pahang, Malaysia, Asia
  • Type: Miller, G. S. 1900 Aug 20. Proceedings of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 2: 213.; Renamed: Miller, G. S. 1901 Sep 25. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 14: 178.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lectotype for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 3730
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Unknown;
Preparation: Mounted Skin
Collector(s): Collector Unknown
Locality: Tahiti, Society Islands, South Pacific Ocean
  • Lectotype: Peale, T. R. 1848. Mammalia and Ornithology. United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842 under the command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. 8: 47.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 124888
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Old adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1904
Locality: Banka Island [= Pulau Bangka], W side Klabat Bay [= Teluk Klabat], Sumatra, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Lyon, M. W. 1906 Dec 18. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 31: 596.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 144637
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1906
Locality: Mount Halcon, spur of main ridge, Mindoro, Mindoro Oriental Province, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 1372
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1913 Dec 31. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 46: 321.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 239245
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): R. McGregor & A. Celestino
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Cagayancillo, Cagayan Island, Palawan Province, Philippines, Asia
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1913 Dec 31. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 46: 322.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 144600
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1907
Locality: Mount Mayon, Luzon, Albay Province, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 1219
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1913 Dec 31. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 46: 319.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 145833
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1907
Locality: Haights-in-the-Oaks, Luzon, Benguet Province, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 2134
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1911 May 15. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 24: 90.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 155144
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): D. Mackie
Year Collected: 1909
Locality: Bagamanoc, Albay, Catanduanes Island, Catanduanes Province, Philippines, Asia
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1913 Dec 31. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 46: 320.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 145771
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Young adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1907
Locality: Baguio, Limestone Hills, near Lime Kiln, Luzon, Benguet Province, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 1524
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1911 May 15. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 24: 89.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 144635
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1906
Locality: Basilan, Sulu Archipelago, Basilan Province, Philippines, Asia
Microhabitat: Trapped in the forest
  • Type: Hollister, N. 1913 Dec 31. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 46: 322.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type for Rattus exulans
Catalog Number: USNM 123294
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Pantar, Mindanao, Philippines, Asia
Elevation (m): 581
  • Type: Mearns, E. A. 1905 May 13. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 28: 448.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Rattus exulans can live in a variety of habitats including grassland, scrub and forests, provided that it has adequate food supplies and shelter. It is not a good swimmer, but is able to climb trees for food. Other habitats include the those created by humans, such as houses, granaries, and cultivated lands. These rats usually lives below 1,000 m in elevation, where there is good ground cover and well-drained soil.

Range elevation: 1,000 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; agricultural

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is present in a wide variety of habitats, including disturbed or agricultural land. In the Philippines, it occurs in agricultural areas throughout the country at all elevations (Barbehenn et al. 1973; Rabor 1986). Often present in disturbed forest (e.g. Danielsen et al. 1994), usually rare in primary forest, but may be common in primary forest on islands such as Negros with few native rodents (Heaney et al. 1989). In South Asia, it is a nocturnal and probably commensal species. It occurs in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests, tropical and subtropical mangrove forests. Coastal hilly forest with human settlements in lowlands (Molur et al. 2005).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: In Hawaii: mainly lowlands; not often in buildings; most common in cane fields and abandoned pineapple fields, also present in adjacent gulches or waste areas; usually uncommon in upland forest, but abundant in mesic to wet native forest at 1600-200 m on Maui (Sugihara 1997). Burrows in ground in gulch, cane field, etc., or builds nest slightly off the ground in wetter areas.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Polynesian rats eat a variety of foods, including broad leaf plants, grasses, seeds, fruits, and animal matter. They prefer fleshy fruits such as guava, passion fruit, thimbleberry, and their favorite sugar cane. Rats that live on the edges of sugar cane fields consume sugar cane as 70% of their diet. To acquire the other additional proteins it will eat earthworms, spiders, cicadas, insects, and eggs of ground nesting worms.

Animal Foods: eggs; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Opportunistic; eats mainly plant material in most areas; also invertebrates and small vertebrates (Wirtz 1972, Williams 1973).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

As a prey species, these animals undoubtedly affect predator populations. In their foraging, they affect plant communities, as well as populations of small invertebrates upon which they prey.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

The infestation of Polynesian rats has destroyed the sugar cane fields, especially in Hawaii. To protect the fields in Hawaii, Indian mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus) were introduced from the West Indies to help control the rats. Barn owls and dogs have also been used to get rid of Polynesian rats.

Known Predators:

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known predators

Rattus exulans is prey of:
Tyto alba
Herpestes javanicus

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known prey organisms

Rattus exulans preys on:
non-insect arthropods
Annelida
Arthropoda
Insecta

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

Kure Atoll: minimum population density in March (75/ha), maximum in September (185/ha); sharp decline winter-early summer (Wirtz 1972). In sugar cane fields in Hawaii, forages usually no more than 90 m from burrow, often much less (Nass 1977, Lindsey et al. 1973).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Information on communication in Polynesian rats is not available. However, as mammals, it is likely that they use some visual signals in communication. Tactile communication is undoubtedly present, especially between mates and between a mother and her offspring. Scent cues are probably used, also.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Cyclicity

Comments: Typically spends day in burrow, leaves burrow to forage at dusk (Nass 1977).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

The lifespan of Polynesian rats is up to one year in the wild. In capitivity this species can live up to 15 months.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
1 (high) years.

Typical lifespan

Status: captivity:
12 to 15 months.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Polynesian rats breed throughout the year with peak breeding occuring in summer and early fall.

Reproduction varies among geographic areas and is influenced by the availability of food, weather, and other factors. Females have an average of 4 litters per year with and average of 4 young per litter. In New Zealand, gestation is 19 to 21 days and weaning occurs at 2 to 4 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached by 8 to 12 months, though adult size can be achieved during the same season as birth.

Breeding interval: These rats can breed up to four times per year, depending on weather, food availability and climate.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 4.

Average number of offspring: 4.

Range gestation period: 19 to 21 days.

Range weaning age: 2 to 4 weeks.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 to 12 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8 to 12 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Not much is known about the parental care of Polynesian rats. They are placental mammals that have dependent young. Young are probably altricial, as is common in the genus. While they develop, they probably live in some sort of nest, where they are nurse, groomed, and protected by their mother.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-fertilization (Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Kure Atoll, Hawaii: most litters are produced in May-August (none September-December). Gestation lasts 19-21 days; average litter size is 2.5-4.5 in different areas; lactation lasts 3-4 weeks; sexually mature within 1 year, capable of multiple litters annually (but usually 1/year on Kure Atoll.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Rattus exulans

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 28 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AACCGTTGACTCTTTTCAACTAACCACAAGGATATCGGAACCCTTTACTTATTATTTGGTGCATGAGCAGGAATAGTAGGTACAGCCTTG---AGTATTTTAATTCGAGCTGAATTAGGACAACCAGGCGCACTCCTAGGCGAC---GACCAAATCTATAATGTTATCGTTACAGCCCATGCATTTGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTTATACCTATAATAATCGGAGGGTTTGGAAACTGACTTGTACCACTAATG---ATCGGAGCCCCTGATATGGCATTCCCACGAATGAATAACATAAGCTTTTGACTACTCCCCCCATCGTTTCTGCTACTCTTAGCATCATCCATAGTAGAAGCCGGAGCCGGAACCGGATGAACAGTATACCCTCCCTTAGCCGGAAACTTAGCCCATGCTGGAGCATCCGTAGACCTA---ACCATTTTCTCCCTTCATCTAGCTGGTGTGTCCTCTATCTTAGGAGCCATTAACTTTATTACCACTATTATCAACATAAAACCACCTGCTATAACCCAGTACCAAACACCCCTCTTTGTGTGATCTGTATTAATTACAGCTGTACTTCTACTTCTTTCACTACCAGTACTAGCAGCA---GGTATTACCATGCTCCTAACAGATCGAAATCTAAATACTACTTTCTTTGACCCTGCTGGAGGCGGAGACCCAATTCTCTATCAACATCTGTTCTGATTCTTCGGGCACCCAGAAGTCTATATCTTGATCCTCCCAGGATTTGGAATCATCTCACACGTGGTTACCTACTACTCTGGAAAAAAA---GAACCATTCGGATATATGGGAATAGTTTGGGCTATAATATCTATTGGCTTCCTAGGTTTTATTGTATGAGCACATCACATATTCACAGTAGGCCTAGATGTAGACACACGAGCCTACTTTACATCCGCCACTATAATTATTGCAATCCCTACAGGTGTAAAAGTATTTAGCTGACTT---GCTACACTGCATGGAGGC---AACATCAAATGATCCCCTGCCATACTATGAGCTCTAGGATTTATTTTCTTATTCACAGTAGGAGGATTAACAGGAATTGTTTTATCCAACTCATCACTTGACATCGTACTTCACGATACATACTATGTAGTAGCCCACTTCCACTATGTA---CTATCTATAGGAGCAGTATTCGCCATTATAGCTGGCTTCGTCCATTGATTCCCACTATTCTCAGGATATACCCTAAACGATACCTGAGCAAAAGCCCATTTCGCCATTATATTTGTAGGCGTTAACATAACATTTTTCCCTCAACATTTCCTAGGATTGTCAGGAATACCTCGT---CGTTACTCTGACTACCCAGATGCTTACACC---ACATGAAATACAGTTTCATCTATAGGCTCATTTATCTCCCTTACAGCTGTCCTTGTAATAATCTTTATAATTTGAGAAGCCTTTGCATCAAAACGAGAAGTA---CTTTCAGTTTCCTACTCCTCAACCAAC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rattus exulans

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 28
Specimens with Barcodes: 40
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

Rats are an exotic species in Hawaii and are not protected by law. The rats can be controlled by any method consistent with state and federal law regulations. Mongoose and monitor lizards were introduced to the Pacific islands to attempt to control R. exulans.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Ruedas, L., Heaney, L. & Molur, S.

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 broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/least concern
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
It is an abundant species.

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is presumably present in many protected areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management Requirements: As in other RATTUS and MUS, few individuals living in cane fields survive harvest operations and escape to adjacent areas; however, ravine populations serve as source for recolonization of cane fields with new crop (Tomich 1970).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Polynesian rats are a major agricultural pest throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. Crops damaged by this species include root crops, cacao, pineapple, coconut, sugarcane, corn, and rice.

Negative Impacts: crop pest

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Polynesian rats have no positive economic importance to humans.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Economic Uses

Comments: May damage standing sugar cane (usually not young cane).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Risks

Species Impact: Apparently not detrimental to forest birds but may be serious predator on nesting seabirds (petrels, shearwater, albatross) (reviewed briefly in Tomich 1986).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Polynesian rat

The Polynesian rat, or Pacific rat (Rattus exulans), known to the Māori as kiore, is the third most widespread species of rat in the world behind the brown rat and black rat. The Polynesian rat originated in Southeast Asia, but like its relatives, has become well-traveled – infiltrating Fiji and most Polynesian islands, including New Zealand, Easter Island, and Hawaii. With them it shares the ability to easily adapt to many different types of environments, from grasslands to forests. Its habits are also similar, becoming closely associated with humans because of the easy access to food. As a result, it has become a major pest in almost all areas within its distribution.

Description[edit]

The Polynesian rat is similar in appearance to other rats, such as the black rat and the brown rat. It has large, round ears, a pointed snout, black/brown hair with a lighter belly, and comparatively small feet. It has a thin, long body, reaching up to 6 in (15 cm) in length from the nose to the base of the tail, making it slightly smaller than other human-associated rats. Where it exists on smaller islands, it tends to be smaller still [e.g. 4.5 in (11 cm)]. It is commonly distinguished by a dark upper edge of the hind foot near the ankle. The rest of its foot is pale.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Polynesian rat is widespread throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia. It cannot swim over long distances, so is considered to be a significant marker of the human migrations across the Pacific, as the Polynesians accidentally or deliberately introduced it to the islands they settled. The species has been implicated in many of the extinctions that occurred in the Pacific amongst the native birds and insects; these species had evolved in the absence of mammals and were unable to cope with the predation pressure posed by the rat. This rat also may have played a role in the complete deforestation of Easter Island by eating the nuts of the local palm tree, thus preventing regrowth of the forest.[2][3]

Although remains of the Polynesian rat in New Zealand were dated to over 2000 years old during the 1990s,[4] which was much earlier than the accepted dates for Polynesian migrations to New Zealand, this finding has been challenged by later research showing the rat was introduced to both of the country's main islands around 1280 AD.[5]

Behaviour[edit]

Polynesian rats are nocturnal like most rodents, and are adept climbers, often nesting in trees. In winter, when food is scarce, they commonly strip bark for consumption and satisfy themselves with plant stems. They have common rat characteristics regarding reproduction: polyestrous, with gestations of 21–24 days, litter size affected by food and other resources (6–11 pups), weaning takes around another month at 28 days. They diverge only in that they do not breed year round, instead being restricted to spring and summer.

Diet[edit]

R. exulans is an omnivorous species, eating seeds, fruit, leaves, bark, insects, earthworms, spiders, lizards, and avian eggs and hatchlings. Polynesian rats have been observed to often take pieces of food back to a safe place to properly shell a seed or otherwise prepare certain foods. This not only protects them from predators, but also from rain and other rats. These "husking stations" are often found among trees, near the roots, in fissures of the trunk, and even in the top branches. In New Zealand, for instance, such stations are found under rock piles and fronds shed by nikau palms.

Rat control and bird conservation[edit]

In New Zealand and its offshore islands, many bird species evolved in the absence of terrestrial mammalian predators, so developed no behavioral defenses to rats. The introduction by the Maori of the Polynesian rat into New Zealand resulted in the eradication of several species of terrestrial and small seabirds.

Subsequent elimination of rats from islands has resulted in substantial increases in populations of certain seabirds and endemic terrestrial birds. As part of its program to restore these populations, such as the endangered kakapo, the New Zealand Department of Conservation undertakes programs to eliminate the Polynesian rat on most offshore islands in its jurisdiction, and other conservation groups have adopted similar programs in other reserves seeking to be predator- and rat-free.[6]

However, two islands in the Hen and Chickens group, Mauitaha and Araara, have now been set aside as sanctuaries for the Polynesian rat.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruedas, L., Heaney, L. & Molur, S. (2008). "Rattus exulans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Flenley, John R. (2003) The enigmas of Easter Island
  3. ^ Diamond, Jared (2005). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Penguin Group. ISBN 0-670-03337-5. 
  4. ^ Holdaway, R.N. (1996). Arrival of rats in New Zealand, Nature, 384, 225–226.
  5. ^ Janet M. Wilmshurst, Atholl J. Anderson, Thomas F. G. Higham, and Trevor H. Worthy (2008). Dating the late prehistoric dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand using the commensal Pacific rat, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 105, 7676–7680.
  6. ^ Auckland Conservancy. 2006. Kiore / Pacific Rat/ Polynesian Rat New Zealand Department of Conservation
  7. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (3 June 2010). "Rare rats off the hook as DoC gives them island sanctuary". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: See Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) for a good review and discussion of Rattus taxonomy and phylogeny.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!