Publication details.


Author(s):C. Firmat, H.G. Rodrigues, R. Hutterer, J.C. Rando, J.A. Alcover, J. Michaux
Title:Diet of the extinct Lava mouse Malpaisomys insularis from the Canary Islands: insights from dental microwear
Journal:Science of Nature
JCR Impact Factor:2.278

Malpaisomys insularis is a mouse-like rodent
endemic to the eastern Canary Islands. It became extinct
during the fourteenth century. It was a remarkable species
living under hyperarid conditions. A dental microwear
analysis was performed in order to determine its former
diet. The elevated number of fine scratches found in
Malpaisomys molars suggests that it consumed a significant
part of Poaceae, grass consumption leaving the most
distinctive features on dental wear facets. A graminivorous
diet with a high amount of abrasive items is in agreement
with the broad teeth of Malpaisomys, considered as
adapted to grass consumption. However, in the absence
of potential competitors over its native range, it is likely
that Malpaisomys also foraged on dicots to meet higher
nutrient and energetic requirements. The ecology of
Malpaisomys is discussed from these results in the context
of the desertic climatic conditions of the eastern Canary
Islands and with a special concern on its small body size in
contrast to other large-sized island murine species such as
the giant rats of the central Canary Islands.

Related staff

  • Josep Antoni Alcover Tomàs