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SPECIES Paruromys dominator

Author:Thomas, 1921.
Citation:Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 9, 7: 244.
Common Name:Giant Sulawesi Rat
Type Locality:Indonesia, N Sulawesi, Minahassa, Mt Masarang, 4000 ft (1220 m).
Distribution:Sulawesi; Tropical evergreen lowland and montane rainforests throughout the island, from sea level to tree-line.
Status:IUCN – Endangered as P. ursinus, otherwise Lower Risk (lc).

Musser and Newcomb (1983) reviewed the taxonomic allocations of dominator from the time it was originally described as a species of Rattus (Thomas, 1921a), through its allocation to genus Taeromys (Sody, 1941) and use as type-species of subgenus Paruromys in Rattus (Ellerman, in Laurie and Hill, 1954), up to its inclusion in subgenus Bullimus in Rattus (Misonne, 1969). Spermatozoal morphology of P. dominator is unlike species of Rattus or any other species for which data from spermatozoal morphology are available (Breed and Musser, 1991), and stomach morphology is also unique among sampled murines (Musser and Durden, 2002). Musser (1971b) documented the association of Ellerman’s frosti with P. dominator. Sody’s (1941) ursinus, based upon specimens from the upper slopes of Gunung Lampobatang on the SE peninsula of Sulawesi, was described as a subspecies of Taeromys dominator, later included in the synonymy of that species (Musser, 1984), and subsequently recognized as a separate species (Musser and Holden, 1991; Downing et al., 1998). Recent multivariate analysis of cranial and dental traits by Musser (ms.), however, support the earlier inclusion of ursinus in P. dominator. Paruromys dominator, Maxomys muschenbroekii, and Rattus hoffmanni are the only Sulawesian murines occurring over the entire island in most forest formations (Musser and Holden, 1991).

Paruromys dominator is represented by subfossil fragments (Holocene) from lowlands of the SW peninsula (Musser, 1984) and by two lower molars recovered from late Pliocene-early Pleistocene sediments in the Walanae Formation (Downing et al., 1998). This is the earliest record of a murine from Sulawesi and joins a distinctive extinct Pleistocene fauna consisiting of giant tortoises, crocodiles, the pig Celebochoerus, and the elephants Stegodon sompoensis and Elephas celebensis; except for Paruromys, this unique assemblage is unlike the modern fauna (see review by Van den Bergh et al., 2001).




    frosti (Ellerman, 1949)
    ursinus (Sody, 1941)

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