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SPECIES Melomys rufescens

Author:Alston, 1877.
Citation:Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1877: 124.
Common Name:Black-tailed Melomys
Type Locality:"Duke of York Isl or adjacent parts of New Britain or New Ireland" (Tate, 1951:304).
Distribution:New Guinea; throughout the island continent, from the Vogelkop in Prov. of Papua (= Irian Jaya) to the E end of Papua New Guinea, coastal lowlands to high altitudes in mountains (at least 2000 m). Also on islands of New Britain, New Ireland, Mioko, and Lamassa in the Bismarck Arch.; three large islands in E Prov. of Papua (= Irian Jaya), Yapen, Waigeo, and Salawati; on islands of Blup Blup and Karkar, off northern coast of Papua New Guinea; and on Sideia Isl, off coast of SE Papua New Guinea (Emmons and Kinbag, 2002; Flannery, 1995b; Flannery and White, 1991; Menzies, 1996); Kitchener and Maryanto (1995a:49) recorded it from Wokam Isl in the Aru Isl Group.
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (lc) as M. gracilis and M. rufescens.
Comments:The significant geographic variation in morphological traits present among samples allows recognition of four distinct groups; rufescens from N and W New Guinea and the Bismarck Arch., niviventer from Fly River drainage, stalkeri from E Papua New Guinea, and hageni from the Eastern Highlands (based on Musser’s study of specimens in AMNH and BMNH), which is generally concordant with the subspecies recognized by Menzies (1996) in his revision of New Guinea Melomys. Menzies (1996) also described wisselensis from the Wissel Lakes region in Prov. of Papua (= Irian Jaya) as a subspecies of M. rufescens. Morphologically and likely phylogenetically, M. rufescens is related to M. paveli on Seram Isl, M. matambuai on Manus Isl, and M. bougainville on the northern Solomon islands, and according to Helgen (2003b:170), all four ". . . undoubtedly share a recent common ancestry. . . ."



    calidior (Thomas, 1911)
    gracilis (Thomas, 1906)
    hageni Troughton, 1937
    musavora (Ramsay, 1877)
    niviventer Tate, 1951
    sexplicatus (Jentink, 1907)
    stalkeri (Thomas, 1904)
    wisselensis Menzies, 1996

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