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SPECIES Rattus praetor

Author:Thomas, 1888.
Citation:Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., [ser. 1], 2: 158.
Common Name:Large New Guinea Spiny Rat
Type Locality:Solomon Isls, Guadalcanal Isl, Aola.
Distribution:New Guinea; on the mainland north of the Central Cordillera from Vogelkop Peninsula throughout N New Guinea to about the Sepik-Ramu drainage in Papua New Guinea, and south of the Cordillera to W Prov. of Papua (= Irian Jaya); sea level to 1900 m; absent from the Trans-Fly region and E Papua New Guinea. Living populations also recorded from Manus Isl in Admiralty Isls; Bougainville and Guadalcanal Isls in the Solomon Isls; Karkar Isl, Blup Blup Isl, Bat Isl, New Britain Isl, and New Ireland Isl in the Bismarck Arch.; and Salawati and Gebe islands off the western tip of Prov. of Papua (= Irian Jaya); found as fossils only on Nissan and Tikopia islands in the Solomons (Emmons and Kinbag, 2001; Flannery, 1995a, b; Flannery and White, 1991; Taylor et al., 1982). Also recorded from Fiji Isl as a subfossil (K. Aplin, in litt., 2004).
Status:IUCN Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:Rattus leucopus species group. In Tate's (1951) monograph, this species was listed as a subspecies of R. ruber; the holotype of ruber is an example of the introduced R. nitidus (Taylor et al., 1983, summarized the taxonomic history). According to Flannery (1995b:159), R. praetor "has been introduced prehistorically into most of its insular distribution, reaching New Ireland by 3500 year ago. . . and the Solomon Islands soon after." Reviewed by Flannery (1995a, b).
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Offspring:

Synonyms:

    bandiculus Thomas, 1922
    coenorum Thomas, 1922
    mediocris Troughton, 1936
    purdiensis Troughton, 1946
    sansapor Troughton, 1946
    tramitius Thomas, 1922
    utakwa Ellerman, 1941

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