A new species of giant rat (Muridae, Uromys) from Vangunu, Solomon Islands

Tyrone H. Lavery and Hikuna Judge

We describe the first new rodent species from Solomon Islands in more than 80 years. This new giant rat is known from a single specimen captured in a commercially felled Dillenia salomonensis tree on Vangunu Island. Morphologically, it closely resembles a fascinating secondary radiation of 3 species of Uromys (Cyromys) that are endemic to Guadalcanal Island. The cranium can be readily distinguished from those of other species of Uromysby its shorter maxillary tooth row, and shorter incisive foramina. The existence of this species has been suspected for over 2 decades. It is rare and cryptic, and conservation status is Critically Endangered due to its small distributional range, apparent low population densities, and rapid progress of commercial logging on Vangunu Island. Further surveys to locate additional animals and support for community led conservation initiatives on Vangunu are urgently needed to safeguard the species.

Report ia, hemi wanfala scientific description blo wanfala new species lo giant (bigfala) rat blo Vangunu Aelan, Solomon Aelans. Oketa man callim disfala rat, “vika.” Disfala species hemi garem wanfala specimen nomoa. Wanfala man outim lo kapuchu tree taem oketa daunim ya tree lo logging area. Lukluk blo rat ya hem kolosap lo trifala rat blo Guale, bata hemi garem sumfala important difference lelebet lo body and skull blo hem. Vika hemi garem leki wea hemi wide tumus wetem 7 fala pad undanit, hem no 6 fala osem oketa rat blo Guale. Color blo body blo hem, hemi braun wetem waet lo undanit. Skull blo hem, hemi short wantaem wide. Baek teeti blo hem, oketa short tumus and sumfala hol behaenim oketa front teeti, hemi short tumus too. Disfala vika hemi barava hard tumus fo faendim. Oketa man blo Vangunu save lo hem long taem finis, anda oketa scientist save lo hem ovum 20 ias finis, bata diswan hemi first vika for oketa scientist lukim. Mifala garem tingting hemi kolsap extinct (finis), kaen hem luk olsem vika no save stap lo eni ples wea logging hemi kasim finis. Iumi mus lukaotim gud bus blo Vangunu anda halipim oketa man blo Zaira for kipim gud bus blo oketa.

https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx116

Tyrone H. Lavery and Hikuna Judge. 2017. A new species of giant rat (Muridae, Uromys) from Vangunu, Solomon Islands. Journal of Mammalogy 98(6):1518-1530.