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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 9, 2020

The first report of albinism in a Sundaland endemic rodent

  • Jonathan A. Nations ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Ahmad Mursyid , Ryski Darma Busta , Sah Putra Adrian , Heru Handika ORCID logo , Apandi , Anang S. Achmadi and Jacob A. Esselstyn
From the journal Mammalia


Albinism, a congenital disorder that results in a lack of melanin deposition, is common in domesticated animals but rare in nature. Among the ∼2500 species of rodents worldwide, only 67 have published reports of albinism. Here we report the capture of an albino murid (Muridae: Rodentia) from Mt. Singgalang in West Sumatra, Indonesia. The specimen is an adolescent but sexually mature male Maxomys hylomyoides, a montane Sumatran endemic. To our knowledge, this specimen represents the first reported albino rodent from Indonesia and Sundaland, and only the second from Southeast Asia.

Corresponding author: Jonathan A. Nations, Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 119 Foster Hall, 70803, USA; and Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA70803, USA, E-mail:

Funding source: NSF

Award Identifier / Grant number: DEB-1754393

Funding source: NSF

Award Identifier / Grant number: DEB-1441634

Funding source: The Coypu Foundation

Funding source: Alfred L. Gardner and Mark S. Hafner Mammalogy Fund


We thank Pak Sati and the citizens of Nagari Balingka, Kecamatan IV Koto, Kabupaten Agam, Sumatera Barat, for field assistance. Taufiq Afdhal, Inda Dwi Solina, Nuarti Sari Ramadhani, Andri Saputra, Tengku Lidra, and students at Andalas University provided critical support. Kementerian Riset dan Teknologi, Balai Konservasi dan Sumber Daya Alam (BKSDA), and the local governments of Agam District and Sumatera Barat Province provided research permits. The curatorial staff at Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense provided invaluable assistance. Lembaga Ilmu Pegetuahan Indonesia (LIPI) provided export permits. Two anonymous reviews gave suggestions that greatly improved this manuscript.

  1. Author contribution: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: JAN was supported by a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. This work was supported by NSF DEB-1754393, NSF DEB-1441634, the Coypu Foundation, and the Alfred L. Gardner and Mark S. Hafner Mammalogy Fund.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.

Appendix 1:

Total number of murine rodents collected on Mt. Singgalang in November 2018.

Leopoldamys sabanus = 4, Maxomys hylomyoides = 85, Mus crociduroides = 25, Niviventer fraternus = 42, Rattus cf. exulans = 13, Rattus korinchi = 1, Sundamys muelleri = 7.

Appendix 2:

LSUMZ specimens used for comparative measurements.

Leopoldamys sabanus: 40265, 40267 – 68; Maxomys hylomyoides: 40269 – 71, 40273, 40276, 40278, 40282 – 84, 40287, 40289, 40291 – 93, 40295 – 98, 40301 – 03, 40306 – 07, 40311, 40316, 40319, 40323, 40325, 40328 – 29, 40330 – 31, 40333 – 34, 40337, 40339, 40342 – 48, 40350 – 51; Mus crociduroides: 40355, 40357, 40359, 40361 – 63, 40371, 40374 – 78; Niviventer fraternus: 40380 – 81, 40383 – 89, 40391 – 96, 40399 – 03, 40405, 40408 – 12, 40414 – 18, 40421; Rattus cf. exulans: 40422 – 25, 40428, 40430, 40432 – 33; Rattus korinchi: 40442; Sundamys muelleri: 40435 – 38, 40440 – 41.


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Received: 2020-04-25
Accepted: 2020-08-19
Published Online: 2020-09-09
Published in Print: 2021-03-26

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