Oryzomys nelsoni Merriam, 1898:15

Nelson’s rice rat, Tres Marias Island rice rat



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Oryzomys couesi nelsoni Merriam, 1898:15


Conservation Status


Last record: 1897 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Lee et al., 2017); 13 May 1897 or later (Carleton & Arroyo-Cabrales, 2009:121)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



María Madre Island, Nayarit State, México


Biology & Ecology




Four specimens exist (Carleton & Arroyo-Cabrales, 2009:99).

Holotype: USNM 89200 (skin and skull, adult male)






Original scientific description:

Merriam, C. H. (1898). Mammals of the Marias Islands, off Western Mexico. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 12: 13-19.


Other references:

Alvarez-Castaneda, S. T. and Mendez, L. (2003). Oryzomys nelsoni. Mammalian Species 735: 1-2.

Carleton, M. D. and Arroyo-Cabrales, J. (2009). Review of the Oryzomys couesi complex (Rodentia: Cricetidae: Sigmodontinae) in western Mexico. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 331: 94–127.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Goldman, E. A. (1918). The rice rats of North America. North American Fauna 43: 1-100.

Hall, E. R. 1981. The mammals of North America. Second ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1:1-600 + 90, 2:601-1181 + 90.

Hershkovitz, P. 1971. A new rice rat of the Oryzomys palustris group (Cricetinae, Muridae) from northwestern Colombia, with remarks on distribution. Journal of Mammalogy, 52:700-709.

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Merriam, C. H. (1901). Synopsis of the rice rats (genus Oryzomys) of the United States and Mexico. Proceedings of the Washington Academy of Sciences 3: 273-295.

Musser, G.G. and Carleton, M.D. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. In: D.E. Wilson and D.A. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: a geographic and taxonomic reference, pp. 894-1531. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Nelson, E. W. (1899a). General description of the Tres Marias Islands, Mexico. North American Fauna 14: 7-13.

Nelson, E. W. (1899b). Mammals of the Tres Marias Islands. North American Fauna 14: 14-19.

Timm, R., Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T. & Lacher, T. 2017. Oryzomys nelsoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T15583A22388135. Accessed on 20 June 2022.

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009). Holocene mammal extinctions, pp. 41-61. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A. (2011). The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366(1577): 2564-2576. [Supplementary Information]

Wilson, D. E. (1991). Mammals of the Tres Marías Islands. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 206: 214-250.

Wilson, D.E. & Reeder, D.M. 2005 Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.


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