Rattus macleari Thomas, 1887:513

Maclear’s rat, Captain Maclear's rat (Day, 1981), Christmas Island rat



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Mus macleari Thomas, 1887


Conservation Status


Last record: 1902; 1903 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Lee et al., 2017); 1904 (Lamoreux et al., 2016)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



Christmas Island, Australia


Biology & Ecology




The following hypodigm likely includes specimens of R. rattus and hybrid R. rattus x R. macleari (Pickering & Norris, 1996):

OUM 18606

OUM 18607

OUM 18608

OUM 18841

OUM 18842

OUM 18843

OUM 18844

OUM 18845

OUM 18846

CU E 2072

CU E 2073

CU E 2074

CU E 2075

CU E 2076

CU E 2077

CU E 2078

CU E 2079

CU E 2080






Original scientific description:

Thomas, Oldfield. (1887). Report on a zoological collection made by the officers of H. M. S. 'Flying Fish' at Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. I. Mammalia. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1887: 511-514.


Other references:

Andrews, C. W. (1900). Mammalia, pp. 22-33. In: Andrews, C. W. (ed.). A Monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). British Museum of Natural History, London, UK.

Andrews, C. W. (1909). On the fauna of Christmas Island. Proceedings of Zoological Society, London 1909: 101-103.

Aplin, Ken P. (2008). Maclear's Rat, Rattus macleari, pp. 693-694. In: Van Dyck, S. and Strahan, Ronald (eds.). The Mammals of Australia. Third Edition. Sydney, Australia: Reed New Holland.

Aplin, Ken P. and Rowe, K. C. (2023). Maclear's Rat, Rattus macleari, pp. 502-503. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

Armstrong, P. H. (1992). Human impacts on Australia’s Indian Ocean tropical island ecosystems: a review. The Environmentalist 12: 191-206.

Chasen, F. N. (1940). A handlist of Malaysian mammals: A systematic list of the mammals of the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java, including the adjacent small islands. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, Singapore, 15:1-209.

Day, David. (1981). The Doomsday Book of Animals: A Natural History of Vanished Species. New York, N.Y.: The Viking Press.

Ellerman, J. R. (1941). The families and genera of living rodents. Vol. II. Family Muridae. British Museum (Natural History), London, 690 pp.

Ellerman, J. R. (1949). The families and genera of living rodents. Vol. III, Appendix II [Notes on the rodents from Madagascar in the British Museum, and on a collection from the island obtained by Mr. C. S. Webb]. British Museum (Natural History), London, 210 pp.

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.

Flannery, Timmothy Fridtjof. (1990). The rats of Christmas past. Australian Natural History, 23: 394-400.

Forsyth Major, C. I. (1900). Notes on the osteology of Mus nativitatis and Mus macleari, pp. 34-37. In: Andrews, C. W. (ed.). A Monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). British Museum of Natural History, London, UK.

Goodwin, Harry A. and Goodwin, J. M. (1973). List of mammals which have become extinct or are possibly extinct since 1600. Int. Union Conserv. Nat. Occas. Pap. 8: 1-20.

Green, Peter T. (2014). Mammal extinction by introduced infectious disease on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean): the historical context. Australian Zoologist 37(1): 1-14. [Abstract]

Harris, D. (2009). Review of negative effects of introduced rodents on small mammals on islands. Biological Invasions 11: 1611-1630.

Jackson, Stephen and Groves, Colin. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Clayton South, Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 529 pp. [p. 217]

Koch, Linda. (2022). Evolutionary divergence impact on de-extinction. Nature Reviews Genetics 23: 264.

Lamoreux, J. (2009). Rattus macleari. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. ( Downloaded on 26 January 2012.

Lamoreux, J., Woinarski, J. & Burbidge, A. A. (2016). Rattus macleari. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T19344A22440729. Downloaded on 26 June 2021.

Le Page, Michael. (2022). Extinct species will stay extinct. New Scientist 253(3378): 23.

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.

Lin, Jianqing et al. (2022). Probing the genomic limits of de-extinction in the Christmas Island rat. Current Biology 32(7): 1650-1656.e3.

Lister, J. J. (1888). On the natural history of Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1888: 512-531.

MacPhee, R. D. E. and Fleming, C. (1999). Requiem Aeternam, pp. 333-371. The last five hundred years of mammalian species extinctions. In: MacPhee, R. D. E. (ed.). Extinctions in near time. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publisher.

Misonne, X. (1969). African and Indo-Australian Muridae: Evolutionary trends. Annales Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique, Serie IN-8, Sciences Zoologiques, 172:1-219.

Musser, G. G. (1986). Sundaic Rattus: Definitions of Rattus baluensis and Rattus korinchi. American Museum Novitates 2862: 1-24.

Musser, G. G. and Carleton, M. D. (1993). Family Muridae, pp. 501-755. In: Wilson, D. E. and Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic referenceWashington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

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.

Musser, G. G. and Newcomb, C. (1983). Malaysian murids and the giant rat of Sumatra. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 174:327-598.

Pickering, J. and Norris, C. A. (1996). New evidence concerning the extinction of the endemic murid Rattus macleri from Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Australian Mammalogy 19: 19-25.

Sody, H. J. V. (1941). On a collection of rats from the Indo- Malayan and Indo- Australian regions (with descriptions of 43 new genera, species and subspecies). Treubia, 18:255-325.

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

Woinarski, John C. Z., Braby, M. F., Burbidge, A. A., Coates, D., Garnett, S. T., Fensham, R. J., Legge, S. M., McKenzie, N. L., Silcock, J L. and Murphy, B. P. (2019). Reading the black book: The number, timing, distribution and causes of listed extinctions in Australia. Biological Conservation 239: 108261.

Wyatt K. B., Campos P. F., Gilbert M. T. P., Kolokotronis S-O, Hynes W. H., et al. (2008). Historical Mammal Extinction on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) Correlates with Introduced Infectious Disease. PLoS ONE 3(11): e3602.


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