Chilean tree mouse

Irenomys tarsalis

TAXONOMY

Irenomys tarsalis (Philippi, 1900), Fundo San Juan, Valdivia Province, Chile. Formerly placed in the phyllotine tribe.

OTHER COMMON NAMES Spanish: Ratón arbóreo, laucha arbórea.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Total length 10.6-12.8 in (270-326 mm), tail length 3.5-7.7 in (90-196 mm), hindfoot length 1.1-1.3 in (28-32 mm), ear length 0.8-1.0 in (20-25 mm). Weight 1.1-2.4 oz (30-67 g). Dorsal coloration is grayish cinnamon. The venter is washed with pinkish cinnamon buff. Ears are brownish black. Tail is blackish brown, and it may be paler on the ventral side; it ends in a penciled tip. Upper incisors are grooved.

DISTRIBUTION

Although vernacularly known as the Chilean tree mouse, Ireno-mys tarsalis is not endemic to Chile, it also has populations in Argentina. In Chile it ranges from Chillan (VII Región) south to Puerto Ibañez (XI Región), including Chiloe Island and the Guaitecas Islands. In Argentina distributes in along the western side of Neuquen, Río Negro, and Chubut Provinces.

HABITAT

Generally confined to humid, temperate forested habitats, especially bamboo stands or shrubby areas, although it is also present in the interface between forest and steppe.

BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal. It appears docile when removed from traps. After release it often climbs bamboo or trees, although it may run across the forest floor.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Granivorous and frugivorous, although also eats green vegetation, fungi, and seeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding occurs in spring but may extend into summer. Birth takes place in summer. Litter size ranges from three to six.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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