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Apomys zambalensis

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Apomys zambalensis

Heaney, et al. 2011. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences, 2: 49. Type Locality: 0.1 km N Mt. Natib peak, Bataan Province, Luzon Island, Philippines, elevation 1150 m (14.71513d N, 120.39892d E)

© The Field Museum. Photograph by L Heaney and A Niedzielski.

 

Order: RODENTIA

Family: Muridae

English common names: Zambales apomys, Zambales forest mouse

 

Identification:

Total length: 256-311 mm; tail: 123-158 mm; hind foot: 35-40 mm; ear: 20-23 mm; weight: 67-112 g. Apomys zambalensis is the second largest known species of the subgenus Megapomys, and one of the longest-tailed species in the subgenus as well, with a tail 94-100% of head and body length. Its dorsal fur is shorter and paler than that of most species and the color is a bright rusty-orange, while ventral fur is a pale to medium gray at the base and white with an ochraceous wash at the tips. Ears are large and tail is distinctly bicolored—heavily pigmented dorsally, nearly white ventrally.  The hind foot is nearly white dorsally, occasionally with scattered dark hairs.

Apomys zambalensis is easily distinguished from other Megapomys by its large size, comparatively pale, bright rusty-brown fur, and pale ears. Apomys brownorum, which occurs at higher elevations in the Zamabales range, is smaller, with dark brown dorsal fur and hind feet that have a substantial amount of dark hair dorsally.  Apomys sacobianus, also from the Zambales range, is slightly smaller, with yellow-gray-brown dorsal fur, often with some dark hairs near the midline of the dorsal rostrum, and lacks an ochraceous wash in the ventral fur.  Apomys aurorae is smaller in size, with darker brown fur dorsally and dark hairs on the dorsal side of the hind foot. Apomys magnus is slightly larger and dark, with dark ears and dark soles on the hind feet. Apomys sierrae is smaller than A. zambalensis in external features and has darker fur both dorsally and ventrally, with dark hair on the dorsal surface of the hind foot

 

Distribution:

Known from Mt. Tapulao, Zambales Province (FMNH) and Mt. Natib, Bataan Province (FMNH), Luzon Island; probably widespread in the Zambales Mountains and on the Bataan Peninsula (Heaney et al., 2011). 

© The Field Museum

 

Habitat and Ecology:

Currently documented from 860 m to 1690 m, in regenerating and old-growth lowland and montane forest, some rather heavily disturbed.  They were common to abundant at 860 m, 925 m, 1200 m, and 1690 m sampling areas, with abundance increasing from the lowest to highest locality; at each of these localities, they were the most common species of small mammal.  They are active at night, feeding on the ground surface on earthworms, other invertebrates, and seeds (Balete et al., 2009).

© The Field Museum. Illustration by V Simeonovski.

 

Status:

Abundant in disturbed and old-growth forest, probably widespread in the Zambales Mountains and Bataan.

 

Comments:

Further elevational surveys are needed to determine whether this species exists throughout the Zambales Mountains and on Mt. Mariveles, Bataan Peninsula, as predicted.  Areas of overlap with Apomys brownorum and A. sacobianus need to be identified, and differences in habitat use and food resources determined.