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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).



    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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