O. galapagoensis galapagoensis was endemic to the island of San Cristóbal (area: 558 square kilometers; maximum altitude: 730 m) until its extinction sometime after 1835. Subspecies O. galapagoensis bauri inhabits Santa Fé Island (area: 24 square kilometers; maximum altitude: 259 m). San Cristóbal and Santa Fé Islands are part of the Galápagos National Park. Santa Fé Island is uninhabited by humans. (Swash and Still, 2000), also known as the Galápagos rice rat, is endemic to the Galápagos Archipelago, Ecuador. Subspecies
- Other Geographic Terms
- island endemic
Overall, the Galápagos climate is relatively dry and composed of two distinct seasons. The warm, wet season lasts from December to May. During this time, the monthly average maximum temperature ranges between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius, and the monthly average rainfall ranges between 40 and 80 mm. The dry season occurs from May to December. During this time, the monthly average maximum temperature ranges between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius, and the monthly average rainfall ranges between 0 and 50 mm. (Swash and Still, 2000)
- Terrestrial Biomes
- scrub forest
- Range elevation
- 0 to 259 m
- 0.00 to 849.74 ft
Subspecies Oryzomys galapagoensis bauri is likely physically indistinguishable from Oryzomys galapagoensis galapagoensis. The two subspecies occurred as two isolated island populations. The only population of O. galapagoensis galapagoensis inhabited San Cristóbal Island and is now extinct. Although three additional endemic rice rats (Nesoryzomys) and two invasive rats (Rattus) inhabit the Galápagos Islands, identification is easy as O. galapagoensis bauri is the only rat to inhabit Santa Fé Island. (Dowler, et al., 2000; Swash and Still, 2000)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- Range mass
- 55 to 74 g
- 1.94 to 2.61 oz
- Range length
- 108 to 118 mm
- 4.25 to 4.65 in
There is little available information as to the mating system of.
Unaddressed discrepancies exist in the literature as to the timing of the Galápagos rice rat’s reproductive season. Clark described the reproductive season as beginning in the warm, wet season (between January and May). According to Clark, the unpredictable timing of the warm season’s rains affects the start date of the reproductive season for (Brosset, 1963; Clark, 1980). In contradiction with Clark's research, Brosset proposed that Galápagos rice rats breed multiple times in a year. Brosset found juveniles (age unspecified) during the months of March, July, and August. Brosset hypothesized that Galápagos rice rat reproduction is more affected by abundance of food than by seasonality.
Galápagos rice rats, although normally nocturnal, change to a diurnal activity pattern during the mating season. Later in the season, pregnant females become intolerant of males. The average number of embryos per pregnant female is influenced by the abundance of previous rainfall and resultant availability of food. During a particularly wet season the average number of embryos per female (n=10) was five. During a wet season with lower rainfall, the average number of embryos per female (n=5) was three. (Brosset, 1963; Clark, 1980)
Few quantitative data describe the gestation period, time to weaning, or age of reproductive maturity for (Brosset, 1963). Brosset observed the development of a Galápagos rice rat litter of three at a field station. The mother gave birth nine days after capture. The offspring were described as naked and blind at birth and becoming black on the fourth day. On the ninth day, adult fur began to appear and the young opened their eyes. By the 13th day, the young were walking around the nest, and on the 19th day they ate bananas. After 35 days, the young had attained 75% of the adult female’s length. Brosset described the offspring and adult female as continuing to nest together without aggression.
For a more quantitative description of Galápagos rice rat reproduction, it is necessary to examine the reproductive behavior of the rice rat, Oryzomys palustris. Oryzomys palustris is similar in size to (weight: 40 to 80 g) and provides a reproductive guideline to follow. Oryzomys palustris has a gestation period of 25 days and the young weigh 3 to 4 g at birth. The weaning period of O. palustris is 2 weeks and the young reach sexual maturity after 2 months. The reproductive cycle of is likely similar; however, the two species vary in a number of life history traits, so these numbers should only be used as a guideline. (Niethammer, 1990)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- may breed once or multiple times a year.
- Breeding season
- The breeding season is likely to occur from January to May, but may extend into August.
- Range number of offspring
- 2 to > 5
- Average number of offspring
- 3 to 5
- Parental Investment
The maximum age an (Clark, 1980)is known to have lived is about 2 years. This information is based on trap-retrap methods, where both a male and female were retrapped 599 days after their original capture.
- Range lifespan
- 2 (high) years
- Range lifespan
There is currently no information regarding the home range of.
Communication and Perception
There is little available information on the communication methods of Oryzomys species, utilizes vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste to perceive its environment. Other Sigmodontinae species have been reported to use high-pitched vocalizations and urinary and fecal odors to communicate. Thus, hearing and olfaction may be particularly important aspects of interspecies communication for . (D'Elia, 2004). , like other
Very little is known about the diet of Cryptocarpus periformis. Based on the diet of other Oryzomys species, is likely a generalist, feeding mainly on succulent plant parts, seeds, and insects. is an opportunistic feeder and will capitalize on human food when available. It is described as having a voracious appetite and will chew its way into tents and boxes to access food. Galápagos rice rats have been observed feeding on bread, dried fruit, beans, meat, flies, and hermit crabs. Researchers also found to be cannibalistic when food is limited. It is hypothesized that is a seed disperser for Bursera graveolens, a tropical tree found on Santa Fé Island. (Brosset, 1963; Clark and Clark, 1981; D'Elia, 2004; Niethammer, 1990). In the wild, was observed eating fishermen’s fish scraps, insects, and shoots of the plant,
- Primary Diet
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
- aquatic crustaceans
- Plant Foods
- wood, bark, or stems
- seeds, grains, and nuts
Likely predators of Buteo galapagoensis), and short-eared owls (Asio flammeus). Asio flammeus may have a greater impact on the population of due to the two species' overlap in nocturnal activity patterns. An instance of a centipede, Scolopendra galapagoensis, preying on a young in a nest has also been documented. (Clark, 1979; Clark, 1980)are Galápagos hawks (
- Anti-predator Adaptations
Bursera graveolens, a tropical tree that dominates Santa Fé's arid environment. Feral goats (Capra hircus) inhabited Santa Fé for at least 66 years. In 1971, the Galápagos National Park Service extirpated the introduced goat population on the island. Since the goat removal, the severely impacted B. graveolens population has shown a considerable increase in the number of juveniles. Dispersers have played a significant role in the successful return of B. graveolens. Bursera graveolens parent plants inhibit germination. Thus, the plant relies on seed dispersal to decrease proximity to parent trees. Land iguanas (Conolophus pallidus), bird species, and are likely aiding in the seed dispersal of a number of plant species on Santa Fé. (Clark and Clark, 1981)may play a key ecological role in the dispersal of
- Ecosystem Impact
- disperses seeds
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are currently 3 species of endemic rodents in the Galápagos, including. The Galápagos archipelago is renowned and heavily visited for its unique flora and fauna. The tourism industry, which relies completely on the presence of these endemics, benefits the Ecuadorian government and people monetarily.
- Positive Impacts
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Inhabitants and tourists of the Galápagos may be forced to take particular care not to introduce Rattus rattus or Rattus norvegicus to Santa Fé Island. This is due to the observed vulnerability native Galápagos rodent populations have to the presence of these two species. (Dowler, et al., 2000)
Oryzomys galapagoensis galapagoensis, which once inhabited San Cristóbal, is extinct. Evidence supports the assumption that the most likely cause of extinction was the introduction of black rats (Rattus rattus). It is unclear as to whether the black rats caused the native rice rat population decline through direct competition for resources or through the introduction of a pathogen. Some researchers believe an O. galapagoensis galapagoensis population may exist on the western side of San Cristóbal, where limited rodent surveys have been conducted. (Dowler, et al., 2000; Gippoliti, 2002)is comprised of two subspecies and their distinct populations. The population of
Oryzomys galapagoensis bauri is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. This population of on Santa Fé is healthy, and individuals are considered common. This population, however, is extremely vulnerable to extinction if black rats (Rattus rattus) or Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) are introduced to this island. (Dowler, et al., 2000; Gippoliti, 2002)
Oryzomys (rice rat) species are known to be good swimmers, and are thought to have floated to the Galápagos Islands on rafts of vegetation drifting from the South American mainland. (Niethammer, 1990)
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Coral Wolf (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
- 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.
flesh of dead animals.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
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
- island endemic
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
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).
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.
active during the night
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
- scrub forest
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
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.
Brosset, A. 1963. Satut actuel des mammifères des îles Galapagos. Mammalia, 27: 323-341.
Clark, D. 1979. A centipede preying on a nestling rice rat (Oryzomys bauri). Journal of Mammalogy, 60 (3): 654.
Clark, D. 1980. Population Ecology of an endemic neotropical island rodent: Pryzomys bauri of Santa Fe Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. The Journal of Animal Ecology, 49 (1): 185-198.
Clark, D., D. Clark. 1981. Efffects of seed dispersal by animals on the regeneration of Bursera graveolens (Burseraceae) on Santa Fe Island, Galápagos. Oecologia, 49: 73-75.
D'Elia, G. 2004. Rice, mice, and relatives IV: South American rats and mice (Sigmodontinae). Pp. 263-279 in M Hutchins, D Kleiman, V Geist, M McDade, eds. Grzimek's animal life encyclopedia, Vol. 16: Mammals V, 2nd Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group.
Dowler, R., D. Carroll, C. Edwards. 2000. Rediscovery of rodents (Genus Nesoryzomys) considered extinct in the Galápagos Islands. Oryx, 34 (2): 109-117.
Gippoliti, S. 2002. "Oryzomys galapagoensis" (On-line). 2004 IUCN red list of threatened species. Accessed March 18, 2006 at http://www.redlist.org.
Niethammer, J. 1990. Burrowing rodents. Pp. 206-275 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. 3, English Language Edition. United States: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.
Swash, A., R. Still. 2000. Birds, mammals, and reptiles of the Galápagos Islands. United States: Yale University Press.