Crateromys schadenbergiLuzon bushy-tailed cloud rat

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Geographic Range

Luzon bushy-tailed cloud rats (Crateromys schadenbergi) are found only in Benguet, Ifugao, and Mountain provinces of Northern Luzan Island, Philippines. They appear to be common on some high mountains and plateaus. (Heaney, 2002; Nowak, 1999)

Habitat

Crateromys schadenbergi lives in pine and mossy forests on Luzon Island in the Philippines at elevations between 2000 and 2500 meters. (Heaney, 2002)

  • Range elevation
    2000 to 2500 m
    6561.68 to 8202.10 ft

Physical Description

Thees animals look a bit like long, bushy-tailed guinea pigs. The body is long, with a slim muzzle, and small eyes and ears. Each of the hands and feet have five digits. The thumb has a flattened nail, while the remaining fingers and toes have strong, but slender claws with a bit of hair at the base of each claw. The head and body length ranges from 325 to 394 mm and the length of the tail ranges from 355 up to 475 mm. The pelage coloration ranges from dark brown to black on the upper body, dark gray on the sides, and lighter gray on the lower body. However, some individuals have white or brownish fur on the anterior of the body, or the underparts are completely white. The fur is very dense, with thick underfur and wavy to straight guard hairs. The tail is long and bushy. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Range length
    Head and body: 325 to 394 mm
    to 15.51 in

Reproduction

There is little information on reproductive mating systems in bushy-tailed cloud rats.

The information on reproduction in C. schadenbergi is scarce. A single young is reported to have been produced in October, but the general pattern of reporoduction has not been reported. (Nowak, 1999)

Based on general characteristics of the Muridae family, this species may have the following: duplex uterus and a baculum. (Martin, et al., 2001)

  • Breeding interval
    The breeding interval for these animals is not known.
  • Breeding season
    The time of year in which breeding occurs is not known.

There is little information on parental care in C. schadenbergi. Because the animals are mammals, we can infer that the mother produces milk and nurses the young. She probably grooms them and protects them as well. The period of juvenile dependence has not been reported for this species.

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

There is little information available on the life span of C. schadenbergi, although it was noted that one animal lived in captivity for four years and three months. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: captivity
    4.25 (high) years

Behavior

Crateromys schadenbergi is arboreal and is the most active after sunset. It sleeps during the day in tree cavities or holes around the roots of trees. (Nowak, 1999)

Home Range

The home range of C. schadenbergi has not been reported.

Communication and Perception

Luzon bushy-tailed cloud rats have a strange shrill cry that sometimes sounds like insects and may be a form of communication. As mammals, it is likely that they use some visual communication, such as body postures, to communicate. Most mammals have some chemical communication, where scents indicate reproductive status, or help to identify individuals. Tactile communication is also likely to be present, especially between mates, parents and offspring, and between individuals during agonistic encounters. (Nowak, 1999)

Food Habits

Crateromys schadenbergi is primarily an herbivore. It feeds on the buds and bark of pine (Pinus) trees, or fruits on trees. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Plant Foods
  • wood, bark, or stems
  • fruit
  • flowers

Predation

There is little information available on anti-predator adaptations of C. schadenbergi. It is only known that they have been hunted by native peoples on Northern Luzan Island in the Philippines. Apparently, their fur has some value. (Heaney, 2002; Nowak, 1999)

Ecosystem Roles

There was little information on the ecosytem role of bushy tailed cloud rats. However, as herbivores, they may help to disperse seeds in the forests they live in. (Heaney, 2002; Nowak, 1999)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Natives of Northern Luzan Island have hunted bushy-tailed cloud rats and sold their wool-like pelts. Some have also been kept as pets, although their temperment in captivity has not been commented on in the literature. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Positive Impacts
  • pet trade
  • body parts are source of valuable material

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This species is not known to have adverse effects on humans.

Conservation Status

Crateromys schadenbergi is listed on the IUCN Red List as "Vulnerable". It is not listed under CITES. The species is extremely vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation on Northern Luzan Island. Because they endemic only to this island, the loss of habitat is a serious concern. (Heaney, 2002; "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species", 2002)

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Katie Wiedmeyer (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Glossary

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

frugivore

an animal that mainly eats fruit

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

oriental

found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map

pet trade

the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

References

IUCN. 2002. "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line ). Accessed 12/03/02 at http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=5500.

Heaney, L. 2002. "Fieldiana: A Synopsis of the Mammalian Fauna of the Philippine Islands" (On-line ). Accessed 10/01/02 at http://www.fmnh.org/philippine_mammals/Crateromys_schadenbergi.htm.

Martin, R., R. Pine, A. DeBlase. 2001. A Manual of Mammology. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walkers Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.