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.
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.
Author contributions: STT conceptualized the study; TEJ, AAM, KL, ACK and M collected data; STT, ACK and RJK prepared the manuscript.
Research funding: Fieldwork was supported by the Royal Society (UF130573), the University of Edinburgh Development Trust, and the Balloch Trust.
Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest regarding this article.
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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This article contains supplementary material (https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2022-0135).
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