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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 28, 2023

Continued survival of the elusive Seram orange melomys (Melomys fulgens)

  • Samuel T. Turvey ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Timothy E. Jeffree , Alastair A. Macdonald , Kristin Leus , Rosalind J. Kennerley , Maharadatunkamsi and Andrew C. Kitchener EMAIL logo
From the journal Mammalia


Many poorly-known small mammals have remained undetected for decades, including Melomys fulgens, a distinctive orange murid from Seram, Indonesia, that has been unrecorded since 1920. We report previously undocumented specimens of M. fulgens collected in 1993 and 1994, and local ecological knowledge from 2017 including descriptions and recent sightings, providing strong indirect evidence of its continued survival in similar habitat to known collection localities. These findings indicate relatively widespread distribution of M. fulgens in low-elevation coastal forest across Seram, raising hope for continued survival of Seram’s other ‘lost’ small mammals.

Corresponding author: Samuel T. Turvey, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY, UK, E-mail: ; and Andrew C. Kitchener, Department of Natural Sciences, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK; and School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh EH8 3XP, UK, E-mail:

Funding source: Royal Society

Award Identifier / Grant number: University Research Fellowship (UF130573)

Funding source: University of Edinburgh

Award Identifier / Grant number: Development Trust

Funding source: Balloch Trust


We thank the communities of Seram for sharing their knowledge. Support was provided by Andrew Bagnall and Morika Tetelepta.

  1. Author contributions: STT conceptualized the study; TEJ, AAM, KL, ACK and M collected data; STT, ACK and RJK prepared the manuscript.

  2. Research funding: Fieldwork was supported by the Royal Society (UF130573), the University of Edinburgh Development Trust, and the Balloch Trust.

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

  4. Research ethics: Research design for fieldwork involving human participants was approved by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Ethics Committee (ETH22/04). Written informed consent for participation was not required in accordance with national legislation and institutional requirements; participation was voluntary, and verbal consent was obtained from all participants following explanation of study aims and that interviews were anonymous. Research was conducted under LIPI Surat Izin Penelitian 4619/V3/KS/1993 and 4187/II/KS/1994. All field activities were conducted in accordance with Indonesian national laws.


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Supplementary Material

This article contains supplementary material (

Received: 2022-12-07
Accepted: 2023-03-02
Published Online: 2023-03-28
Published in Print: 2023-05-25

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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