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SPECIES Rattus villosissimus

Author:Waite, 1898.
Citation:Proc. R. Soc. Victoria, 10: 125.
Common Name:Australian Long-haired Rat
Type Locality:Australia, Queensland, "from probably the vicinity of Goonhaghooheeny Billabong, Cooper Creek" (Mahoney and Richardson, 1988:188).
Distribution:Australia; broad inland range from NW Western Australia through Northern Territory into most of Queensland and N South Australia and N New South Wales (see Watts and Aslin, 1981:245); fossils indicate a past broader range once extended across the Nullarbor Plain to the Great Australian Bight (Watts and Aslin, 1981; Watts, 1995k). Range in South Australia summarized by Robinson et al. (2000).
Status:IUCN Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:Rattus fuscipes species group. Geographic range is allopatric to the coastal R. sordidus in Queensland and R. colletti in Northern Territory (see Taylor and Horner, 1973:72). The three species are closely related; villosissimus was treated as a subspecies of R. sordidus by Taylor and Horner (1973), but is considered genically closer to colletti by Baverstock et al. (1983a, 1986); see accounts of R. sordidus and R. colletti. An undescribed species related to R. villosissimus and R. colletti is known from a small area in C Queensland (Aplin, in litt., 2004). Analyses of electrophoretic data by Gemmeke and Niethammer (1984) indicated R. villosissimus to be greatly separated from R. argentiventer, R. exulans, R. norvegicus, and R. tiomanicus, and closer to species of Bandicota and Maxomys. Reviewed by Mahoney and Richardson (1988), Watts and Aslin (1981), and Watts (1995k). Occurrence of R. villosissimus in Mootwingee National Park of W New South Wales documented by Ellis (1995a) based on skulls and mummified remains. Effects of inbreeding on skeletal development reported by Lacy and Horner (1996).
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