There is just one genus and species in this Old World murid subfamily: the groove-toothed forest mouse (Leimacomys b\\u00fcttneri). Little information is available on this subfamily, as it is only known from two specimens that were collected in 1890. (Musser and Carleton, 2005; Nowak, 1999)
The two specimens representing this group are from Togo, in western Africa. (Nowak, 1999)
The two known specimens were found in tropical forest. (Nowak, 1999)
- Terrestrial Biomes
Groove-toothed forest mice measure about 118 mm long, and the tail adds an extra 37 mm. They are dark brown or gray-brown above and pale gray below. The ears are small and furry. There are four well-developed digits on the forefeet, and five on the hind feet. They have long claws, especially on the hind feet, and naked, scaly tails.
The leimacomyine dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 0/0, 3/3 = 16. The proodont upper incisors bear shallow grooves, and the third molars are not reduced in size. The upper molar rows diverge anteriorly. Unlike dendromurines, the first crest of each first upper molar is not bicuspid. There is a small posterior cingulum on each first and second upper molar. The bony palate of leimacomyines extends posterior to the rear margins of the molar rows, and the incisive foramina are long and narrow. Groove-toothed forest mice have long, wide rostrums and a broad interorbital region with beaded edges. They have low temporal ridges and small auditory bullae. The zygomatic plates are relatively broad, and the anterior portion of each extends forward past the zygomatic arches in a conspicuous spine. The masseteric knob or tubercle is poorly developed. (Carleton and Musser, 1984; Nowak, 1999)
The mating system of groove-toothed forest mice is unknown.
No information is available on the reproduction of leimacomyines.
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Besides the fact that they are mammals, and therefore females nurse their young, no information is available on the investment that groove-toothed forest mice make in their offspring.
- Parental Investment
The lifespan of leimacomyines is unknown.
- Key Behaviors
Communication and Perception
Groove-toothed forest mice presumably sense visual, tactile, auditory, and chemical cues, as most mammals can, but the acuteness of these senses and the way in which they communicate with one another is unknown.
Groove-toothed forest mice are presumed to be at least partially insectivorous. (Nowak, 1999)
There are no reports of predation on leimacomyines.
If groove-toothed forest mice are indeed insectivorous, then they have a role as secondary consumers. They are most likely preyed upon by higher-level consumers as well.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are no known positive effects of leimacomyines on humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known negative effects of leimacomyines on humans.
Because so little is known about it, including whether or not it still exists, Leimacomys is listed as data deficient by the IUCN. No surveys of the area where the two known specimens were found have been undertaken to date. (Van der Straeten and Schlitter, 2004)
- IUCN Red List [Link]
- Not Evaluated
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Allison Poor (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
- 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.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
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.
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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Ellerman, J. 1940. The Families and Genera of Living Rodents, vol. I. London: British Museum (Natural History).
Musser, G., M. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. D Wilson, D Reeder, eds. Mammal Species of the World. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, vol. II. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Simpson, G. 1945. The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 85: 1-350.
Thomas, O. 1896. On the genera of rodents: an attempt to bring up to date the current arrangement of the order. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 1012-1028.
Van der Straeten, E., D. Schlitter. 2004. "Leimacomys buettneri" (On-line). 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed June 24, 2005 at www.redlist.org.