Apomys aurorae

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Apomys aurorae

Heaney, et al. 2011. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences, 2: 45. Type Locality: 2 km S, 2 km W Mingan peak, Dingalan Municipality, Aurora Province, Luzon Island, Philippines, elevation 1305 m (15.46456d N, 121.38421d E)

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

 

Order: RODENTIA

Family: Muridae

English common names: Aurora apomys, Aurora forest mouse

 

Identification:

Total length: 262-295 mm; tail: 129-153 mm; hind foot: 33-37 mm; ear: 18-21 mm; weight: 58-92 g. Apomys aurorae is one of the smaller species of the subgenus Megapomys, with a sharply bicolored tail that averages 98-100% of head and body length. Its dorsal fur is a rich, rusty reddish-brown; the ventral fur is pale gray at the base with tips that are white or white with a pale ochraceous wash. The hair on the dorsal surface of the hind feet is mostly white with scattered dark hairs.  

Apomys minganensis, which overlaps at middle elevations in the Mingan Mountains, is darker both dorsally and ventrally than A. aurorae and has dark hair on the entire dorsal surface of the hind feet. Apomys aurorae is consistently smaller than the closely-related A. magnus in all external and cranial measurements, as well as having lighter dorsal fur with a distinct yellow tint. Apomys aurorae also lacks the dark tips of the dorsal hairs that are characteristic of A. magnus. Apomys sierrae, which occurs just to the north of A. aurorae, is quite similar, differing most clearly in cranial characters; no external features allow easy discrimination (Heaney et al., 2011). Apomys microdon overlaps extensively with this species, but is much smaller and has a proportionately longer tail.

 

Distribution:

Known only from the Mingan Mountains, Aurora Province, Luzon Island (FMNH, PNM; Balete et al., 2011; Heaney et al., 2011). 

© The Field Museum

 

Habitat and Ecology:

Currently documented from 733 m to 1677 m. In an elevational survey of the Mingan Mountains, Apomys aurorae was the most abundant small mammal species captured at 902 m, 1074 m, 1305 m, and 1476 m sampling areas. In addition, the species was captured at elevations 733 m, 1540 m, and 1677 m. The areas where the species was captured were in lowland dipterocarp forest, montane forest, and (at low density) mossy forest.  This species is nocturnal and forages on the ground for earthworms, other invertebrates, and probably seeds.  At middle elevations, Apomys aurorae occurs sympatrically with A. minganensis (Balete et al., 2011; Heaney et al., 2011). 

© The Field Museum. Illustration by V Simeonovski.

 

Status:

Apomys aurorae is associated with montane and mossy forest in the Mingan Mountains, habitats that are not currently under threat.