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SPECIES Hydromys chrysogaster

Author:E. Geoffroy, 1804.
Citation:Bull. Sci. Soc. Philom. Paris, 93: 354.
Common Name:Common Water Rat
Type Locality:Australia, Tasmania, Bruny Isl (see Mahoney and Richardson, 1988:157).
Distribution:Australia: freshwater lakes and rivers as well as swamp, salt marsh, and supralittoral habitats (absent from C Australian region); also found on Tasmania and numerous smaller islands off the coast of Australia (Friend and Thomas, 1990; Robinson et al., 2000; Rounsevell et al., 1991; Seebeck, 1995b; Watts and Aslin, 1981:67); Kai Isls and Aru Isls. New Guinea: throughout most of the island from sea level to 1900 m (Flannery, 1990b:188; 1995a:237;). Also on the Melanesian and Wallacean islands of Goodenough, Yapen, Biak, Kiriwina, Fergusson, Normanby, and Obi (Flannery, 1995b ).
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:Chromosomal data presented by Baverstock et al. (1977c, 1983b). Morphology of spermatozoa and male reproductive tract discussed in context of comparative study of Australian murines (Breed, 1984, 1986; Breed and Sarafis, 1978; Morrissey and Breed, 1982). References to distributional, taxonomic, and biological literature for Australia cataloged by Mahoney and Richardson (1988:156). Significance of variation in body size and pelage color needs to be assessed in context of careful systematic revision of the species; more than one species likely exists among available samples (the single specimen from Obi Isl, for example, likely represents a separate species, as does a very small-bodied specimen from highland oak forest on Goodenough Isl, which may be a montane endemic distinct from H. chrysogaster in the lowlands; K. Helgen, in litt., 2003). Australian population reviewed by Olsen (1995), New Guinea by Flannery (1995a). Leary and Seri (1997) reported specimens from Mt Sisa in Papua New Guinea. Aplin et al. (1999) reported a specimen of this species from a Holocene archaeological site on the Ayamaru Plateau, central Bird’s Head Peninsula of West Papua.
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