Tuesday 18 June
Isabel naked-tailed rat (Solomys sapientis)
Isabel naked-tailed rat fact file
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Isabel naked-tailed rat description
Thought to be a recently evolved species, the Isabel naked-tailed rat probably only diverged from its sister species (the Bougainville naked-tailed rat) as little as 14,000 years ago. This is thought to have happened after rising sea levels divided the island they inhabited, splitting the population in two (3). The Isabel naked-tailed rat has cinnamon brown fur on its back and sides and the underside is a pinkish buff colour (2). Like other members of the Solomys genus, it has a hairless prehensile tail, strongly clawed, padded feet and four mammary glands (2).Top
Isabel naked-tailed rat biology
Little is known about the biology of the Isabel naked-tailed rat. It reportedly feeds on coconuts and the nuts of the Canarium tree and (2), like other members of its genus, is believed to nest in large forest trees (2). Its nests are built from leaves and sticks inside hollow branches, offering some protection from predators (2).Top
Isabel naked-tailed rat range
The Isabel naked-tailed rat is found on only the small island of Santa Isabella in the Solomon Islands (4). It is thought that it also once inhabited nearby Malaita Island and possibly San Cristobal Island but it is now extinct from both. Its range covers most of Santa Isabella but it is becoming scarcer in the south-west of the island (1).Top
Isabel naked-tailed rat habitat
The Isabel naked-tailed rat lives in tropical moist forest and is thought to spend its life almost entirely in the trees (3).Top
Isabel naked-tailed rat status
Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Isabel naked-tailed rat threats
The most significant threat to this species is habitat loss, mainly due to commercial logging and the creation of farm land. To a lesser degree, it is also threatened by hunting by local people for food (1).Top
Isabel naked-tailed rat conservation
There are no currently no specific conservation projects in place for this species and more research is needed to fully understand its current conservation status (1). It is unclear whether it currently occurs in any protected areas, but suitable habitat needs to be protected if its survival is to be ensured (1).Top
Find out more
Discover more about wildlife conservation in the Solomon Islands at:
The Nature Conservancy:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Capable of grasping.
IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
- Nowak, R.M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
- Flannery, T.F. and Wickler, S. (1990) Quaternary murids (Rodentia: Muridae) from Buka Island, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of two new species. Australian Mammalogy, 13: 127-139.
- Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, M.D. (2005) Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
United Nations Environment Programme (November, 2009)
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