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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Northern Smooth-tailed Treeshrew

Family : Tupaiidae
Species : Dendrogale murina

Head-Body Length : 11.5-13.5 cm
Tail Length : 10.5-13 cm

The Northern Smooth-tailed Treeshrew occurs mainly in southern Vietnam, and parts of Laos and Cambodia; smaller populations occur in Thailand, in remaining forested areas between Bangkok and the border with Cambodia.

This is one of two species in the genus Dendrogale; its sister species, Dendrogale melanura, occurs in Borneo.

This small treeshrew is easily identified in the field by its slender form, pointed muzzle and the pale stripes above and below the eye, which contrast with the dark stripe running through the eye. Its body fur is brownish above and buff below, and its crown is dark. The tail is round with short, brown fur.

Dendrogale murina is an arboreal species, active by day amongst vegetation from near ground-level to the forest canopy. It can in a range of forest types including evergreen, mixed deciduous, bamboo-dominated habitats, streamside vegetation and rocky savannah to 1500 metres elevation (Timmins et al, 2003).

Its diet comprise insects, especially beetles, and occasional fruit.

Species of treeshrew which avoid descending to ground level are smaller and more slender than forest-floor dwellers; for example, the head-body length of Dendrogale murina is around 4 to 9 cm shorter than the Northern Treeshrew Tupaia belangeri with which it is sympatric (i.e. occurs in the same geographic area).

The grasping ability of the hind feet of this small mammal, which helps it navigate the complex structure of forest vegetation with ease, was extensively studied by Youlatos et al (2017).

Fig 1 : Example climbing a slender sapling in forest-edge habitat at Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, where the species is known to be relatively common.

Photo thanks to Binish Roobas.

References : M3, M5

Timmins, R. J., Duckworth, J. W., Robson, C. R., & Walston, J. L. (2003). Distribution, status and ecology of the mainland slender-tailed treeshrew Dendrogale murina. Mammal Review, 33(3‐4), 272-283.

Youlatos, D., Karantanis, N. E., & Panyutina, A. (2017). Pedal grasping in the northern smooth-tailed treeshrew Dendrogale murina (Tupaiidae, Scandentia): insights for euarchontan pedal evolution. Mammalia, 81(1), 61-70.

Fig 1

ゥ  Binish Roobas

Fig 1 by Binish Roobas is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.