Ruschi’s rat (Abrawayaomys ruschii)

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Ruschi's rat specimen, head and front foot
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Ruschi’s rat fact file

Ruschi’s rat description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilyCricetidae
GenusAbrawayaomys (1)

Discovered as recently as 1979, only a few specimens of the enigmatic Ruschi’s rat have ever been captured (3). The upperparts of this medium-sized rat are greyish-yellow, becoming darker on head, and fading to pale yellowish-white on the underparts (2) (3). The fur is composed of fine, soft hairs interspersed with long, thick, bristles, which are banded grey and black (4). The ears are large and mostly bare, while the tail is sparsely covered with short, inconspicuous bristles, except at the tip where they become dense and long, forming a pale tuft (2).

Size
Length: 116 – 135 cm (2)
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Ruschi’s rat biology

Owing to a lack of study, very little is known about the biology of Ruschi’s rat (1) (2) (4).

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Ruschi’s rat range

Although Ruschi’s rat has only been found at a small number of localities, these records indicate a wide distribution, ranging from the state of Espirito Santo, south along the east coast of Brazil to Santa Catarina, and west to Misiones province in Argentina (1).

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Ruschi’s rat habitat

Ruschi’s rat is found in the hugely biodiverse Atlantic Forest region, where it inhabits moist, tropical primary forest, secondary forest and stands of bamboo (1).

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Ruschi’s rat status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Ruschi’s rat threats

Although Ruschi’s rat was previously classified as Endangered on the 1996 IUCN Red List, because of more recent findings indicating a relatively large distribution, its status was revised to Least Concern in 2008. While the main threat to this species is habitat loss resulting from deforestation, it is believed that there are still large areas of forest cover capable of supporting populations, and therefore Rushi’s rat is unlikely to be undergoing a significant decline. Nevertheless without detailed surveys, the true status of this species remains unknown (1).

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Ruschi’s rat conservation

While there are currently no specific conservation measures for Ruschi’s rat, it is known to occur within a number of protected areas, including the Parque Rio Doce in Brazil, and the Iguazu National Park in Argentina (1).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

To learn more about conservation measures being employed in the habitat of Ruschi’s rat, visit:

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Authentication

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:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Atlantic Forest
A highly biodiverse region found along the east coast of South America, comprising several different vegetation types, including high-altitude grassland, and lowland and montane forest.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (October, 2008)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Bonvicino, C.R., Oliveira, J.A. and D’Andrea, P. S. (2008) Guia dos Roedores do Brasil, com chaves para gêneros baseadas em caracteres externos. Centro Pan-Americano de Febre Aftosa - OPAS/OMS, Rio de Janeiro.
  3. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walkers Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
  4. Pereira, L.G., Geise, L., Cunha, A.A. and Cerqueira, R. (2008) Abrawayaomys ruschii Cunha & Cruz, 1979 (Rodentia, Cricetidae) no Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia, 48: 33 - 40.
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Image credit

Ruschi's rat specimen, head and front foot  
Ruschi's rat specimen, head and front foot

© Lucia Luna

Lucia Luna Wong
University of Michigan
3091 Museums Building
1109 Geddes Avenue
Ann Arbor
MI
48109-1079
United States of America
Tel: +1 (734) 764-0456
Fax: +1 (734) 763-4080
llunawo@umich.edu
http://www.eeb.lsa.umich.edu/eeb/people/grads/llunawo.html

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