77.
Mount Kahuzi Climbing Mouse
(Dendromus kahuziensis)
CR
Overview
Like other climbing mice, this species has a remarkably long, semi-prehensile tail, which is thought to help it grasp twigs and branches whilst climbing. Virtually nothing is known about the habits of this species. It is known from just two specimens collected from localities 100 m apart. Other surveys in the area have failed to find the species, suggesting that is rare and has a narrow range. It is thought to be threatened by habitat loss brought about by fire and illegal logging.
Urgent Conservation Actions
There is a need to research and monitor the only known population of this species. Improvements in the management of the protected area for this species are also needed.
Distribution
Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Rodentia
Family: Nesomyidae
The muroid rodents are the largest superfamily of mammals, containing nearly one third of all mammal species. The twelve species of African climbing mice or tree mice (genus Dendromus) belong to the subfamily Dendromurinae in the family Nesomyidae. The closest relatives of the dendromurines are the pouched rats (subfamily Cricetomyinae). These two subfamilies are estimated to have diverged during the Miocene, between 13.5 and 15.3 million years ago.
Description
Size: 
Head and body length: 50-100 mm
Tail length: 65-132 mm
Weight: 5-21 g
This mouse has soft woolly fur that is coloured brownish above and white or yellowish underneath. There are well-defined dark rings around the eyes. The long tail is semi-prehensile (grasping). It is scaly and sparsely haired. The tail is brown in colour, sometimes with a paler underside. Mice in the genus Dendromys can be distinguished by their grooved incisor teeth and the fact they only have three well-developed toes on their forefeet.
Ecology
Little is known about the ecology of this species. It may be arboreal – as its common name suggests, it is probably a good climber, using its long semi-prehensile tail to grasp twigs and branches. The animals are thought to be primarily nocturnal, spending the hours of daylight in small spherical nests of shredded vegetation. Most related species build their nests off the ground, although some are known to nest in underground burrows. The diet probably consists of seeds, berries, insects, small lizards, bird’s eggs and nestlings. The litter size of other species in this group is 2-8.
Habitat
The species is known from subtropical-tropical moist montane forest.
Distribution
Known only from Mount Kahuzi in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Population Estimate
Unknown.
Population Trend
Decreasing.
Status
Classified as Critically Endangered (CR B1ab(iii)) on the 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Threats
The species is known from only two specimens collected from localities 100 m apart. It is thought to be rare, and its habitat is threatened by illegal logging and the threat of human-caused fires. Thorough recent surveys of the area have failed to find this species, suggesting that it is a rare, narrow-range endemic.
Conservation Underway
This species is known from only from a single location on Mount Kahuzi in the highly threatened montane forest of the Kahnti-Biega National Park.
Conservation Proposed
Further research is needed into population abundance, the species range, biology, ecology, habitat status, threats, and potential conservation measures. There is a need to monitor the only known population of this species. Improvements in the management of the protected area for this species are needed.
References
Dieterlen. F. 2008. Dendromus kahuziensis. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 14 November 2010.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Steppan, S. J., Adkins, R. M. and Anderson, J. 2004. Phylogeny and Divergence-Date Estimates of Rapid Radiations in Muroid rodents Based on Multiple Nuclear Genes. Systematic Biology 53(4): 533-553.

Distribution map based on data provided by the IUCN Global Mammal Assessment.

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