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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 10.7 years (captivity) Observations: One 10.7 years old specimen was still alive in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Biology

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This nocturnal rat is primarily a tree-dwelling animal that spends most of its time high up in the branches of trees, but can also be seen on the forest floor, moving at a relatively sluggish pace (2) (5). The diet of this cloud rat in the wild is not fully known (5), but may comprise mainly of tender young leaves (2) (4), although they also eat fruit and reportedly raids crops (7). Information regarding the breeding biology of Phloeomys species also comes from captivity, where births have been recorded in every month of the year except January, March and May (5). In the wild, a pregnant female was found in August. Cloud rats give birth to only one young each year (5), which is born in the hollow of a standing or fallen tree, or in a hole in the ground (6). The mother carries her young firmly attached to a nipple. In captivity, one individual lived for over 13 years (5).
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Conservation

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This species is legally protected from hunting, except by indigenous people using traditional methods. Giant cloud rats occur in several national parks and other protected areas (3).
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Description

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This forest-dwelling rodent is a timid animal (4), with a coat of long, somewhat rough, fur (2) (3) (5). The colour of its fur is highly variable, although most have a striking combination of predominantly white to pale grey fur, with dark brown or black markings on the face and body (6) (7). Pure white specimens are also known, and brown and grey-black forms have also been reported, although whether these are the same species needs to be confirmed (6). Captive specimens may be reddish, possibly due to their diet (7). The northern Luzon giant cloud rat has small ears, long, sensitive whiskers growing from around a blunt muzzle (2) (5), and a densely furred tail (6). Its large hindfeet and long claws hint at its excellent tree-climbing abilities (5).
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Habitat

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The Northern Luzon giant cloud rat inhabits lowland tropical rainforest and montane rainforest, from sea level up to the high mountains, to at least 2,200 metres (3) (5) (6).
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Range

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As its name suggests, this rodent is endemic the island of Luzon in the Philippines, where it is found in the northern and central provinces (6).
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Status

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Classified as Lower Risk / Near Threatened (LR/nt) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).
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Threats

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While this species is widespread and reported to be locally abundant (3) (5), the stability of populations of this cloud rat is threatened by the destruction of forests and hunting (4). Vast swathes of forest in the Philippines have been subject to commercial logging and clearing fro agriculture (8), and this species, along with other cloud rats of the Philippines, is intensively hunted by local people for food (5).
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Northern Luzon giant cloud rat

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The northern Luzon giant cloud rat (Phloeomys pallidus) or northern Luzon slender-tailed cloud rat, also known as bu-ot in Filipino, is a large species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is only found in Luzon, the Philippines.[1][2][3]

Appearance

This very large rodent weighs 1.9–2.6 kg (4.2–5.7 lb) and is 75–77 cm (29.5–30.5 in) long, including its tail.[3] The colour of its relatively long pelage, which also covers the tail, is highly variable, but usually it is mostly very pale brown-grey or white with some dark brown or black patches.[3] They often have a black mask and collar, but can also be entirely white.[2][3] The only other member of the genus Phloeomys, the southern Luzon giant cloud rat (P. cumingi), has a more southerly distribution, generally is smaller (although with some overlap) and it is entirely dark brown;[4] however, the occasional brown Northern Luzon giant cloud rat has been reported in the Mountain Province,[2] and the taxonomic limits between the two Phloeomys are not fully resolved.[1]

Distribution and habitat

Close-up of a Northern Luzon giant cloud rat.

The northern Luzon giant cloud rat is only found in northern and central part of Luzon, the Philippines.[1] It is found in at least 12 provinces.[2] The northern Luzon giant cloud rat prefers forest and scrub, but also occurs in degraded habitats such as plantations.[1] It occurs from sea level to an altitude of about 2,200 metres (7,200 ft).[3] In some areas it overlaps with the rarer giant bushy-tailed cloud rat, but that species mainly occurs at higher altitudes than the northern Luzon giant cloud rat.[3]

Behavior

The northern Luzon giant cloud rat is nocturnal and feeds on various types of vegetation.[3] Because of its relatively large size, it does not enter traditional small-mammal traps and this has limited research in the species.[5]

Reproduction

Northern Luzon giant cloud rats often live in pairs with one or two dependent young.[2] They give birth in hollow boles of trees (standing or fallen) or in burrows in the ground.[2] The sperm head of northern Luzon giant cloud rat has a short apical hook, with the sperm tail attached off-center basally.[6] The tail of the sperm is about 127 µm long.[6]

Conservation status

The northern Luzon giant cloud rat can cause extensive damage to rice crops and are sometimes considered a pest.[7] They are regularly hunted for food in the Sierra Madre.[8] It has been extirpated from some regions because of hunting,[3] but overall it appears to be able to withstand hunting pressure and in general it remains common and widespread.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Heaney, L.; Balete, D.; Ong, P. (2016). "Phloeomys pallidus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T17004A22454049. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T17004A22454049.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Oliver; et al. (1993). "Cloud rats in the Philippines — preliminary report on distribution and status". Oryx. 27: 41–48. doi:10.1017/s0030605300023942.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Phloeomys pallidus". Field Museum of Natural History, Synopsis of Philippine Mammals. 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Phloeomys cumingi". Field Museum of Natural History, Synopsis of Philippine Mammals. 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  5. ^ Duya; et al. (2011). "Chapter 4: Diversity of Small Mammals in Montane and Mossy Forests on Mount Cetaceo, Cagayan Province, Luzon". Fieldiana: Life and Earth Sciences. 2: 88–95. doi:10.3158/2158-5520-2.1.88. S2CID 129507111.
  6. ^ a b Breed; et al. (2010). "The spermatozoon of the Old Endemic Australo-Papuan and Philippine rodents--its morphological diversity and evolution". Acta Zoologica. 91 (3): 279–294. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6395.2009.00407.x.
  7. ^ Singleton; Ravindra & Sebastian (2008). Philippine Rats: ecology and management. PhilRice.
  8. ^ Duya; et al. (2007). "Report on a Survey of Mammals of the Sierra Madre Rance, Luzon Island, Philippines". Banwa. 4: 41–68.
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Northern Luzon giant cloud rat: Brief Summary

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The northern Luzon giant cloud rat (Phloeomys pallidus) or northern Luzon slender-tailed cloud rat, also known as bu-ot in Filipino, is a large species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is only found in Luzon, the Philippines.

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