Water mouse

Chibchanomys orcesi

TAXONOMY

Chibchanomys orcesi Jenkins and Barnett, 1997, Las Cajas, Azuay Province, Ecuador. Tribe Ichthyomyini.

OTHER COMMON NAMES Spanish: Rata acuática.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Total length 8.3-9.0 in (211-229 mm), tail length 4.3-4.8 in (108-122 mm), hindfoot length 0.8-0.9 in (19-24 mm), ear length 0.4-0.6 in (9-14 mm). Weight 1.2-1.4 oz (35-40 g). Pelage is soft, dense, and woolly, dark brownish gray dorsally, and light gray ventrally. Ears and eyes are reduced. The tail is longer than head and body.

DISTRIBUTION

Known only from three localities in the Las Cajas Plateau, Ecuador.

HABITAT

High altitude páramo (10,170-13,100 ft; 3,100-4,000 m), close to fast-flowing streams.

BEHAVIOR Semiaquatic.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Primarily an aquatic insectivore, but also eats fish.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known. It appears to be a scarce páramo inhabitant. CONSERVATION STATUS

Not known, but Barnett (1997) noted that the Las Cajas Plateau, the only place from where C. orcesi is known, may become severely impacted by human activities in the near future.

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