Northern Smooth Tailed Tree Screw (Dendrogale murina)


Range Description:

Historical records include sightings in southern Vietnam, South-East Thailand and probably Cambodia. Recent records show their range extending much further north in Vietnam (at least to 1720'N and probably to 2127'N), into Lao PDR, where it is confined to the south-east, and confirm their presence in Cambodia, where currently localized to Mondulkiri Province (Timmins et al. 2003)
Countries: Native:
Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Thailand; Vietnam



Head and Body: 115mmto 135mm. Tail:  105mm to 130mm

The pelage is short and soft with the upper parts a mixture of  brownish black and ochraceous, the under parts and inner side of the legs are buffy. There is a dark band from the vibrissae through the eye to the base of the ear, with a whitish stripe above and below, the lower stripe widening behind the vibrissae and merging with the buffy neck and chest. A narrow blackish line runs from the runs from the mouth to the root of the cheek vibrissae. The male is larger than the female, and much richer in colouring with a darker tail and more tawny upper parts, richer buff underparts and brighter yellow buff on the head (Kloss 1916a). The fifth digit on the hind foot is relatively longer than in Tupaia,and the first digit is smaller, the claws are short and blunt. The ears are larger and hairier than in Tupaia but considerably smaller than in Ptilocerus. There are 2 mammae. The skull is similar to Tupaia  but with a more rounded braincase and less conspicuous temporal ridges; the supraorbital foramen is well developed. The dentition is quite similar to Tupaia except the upper canine as two roots as in Ptilocerus. Napier and Napier(1967) say it is the smallest of the tree screws but there is considerable overlap with T.Minor.

Habitat and Ecology:

 Most records of the species are from evergreen forest (at varying stages of degradation), but it has also been
found in mixed deciduous forest, extensive secondary bamboo lacking any dicotyledonous canopy, and in streamside tangles amid rocky savannah. Records range from the plains up to 1,500 m asl (Timmins et al. 2003). The species mainly uses the under- and mid-storeys, but also enters the canopy; recent observations come primarily from under-storey tangles, especially of bamboo, almost exclusively between 30 and 300 cm above ground level (Timmins et al. 2003). In Thailand, has been observed on the branches of fruit trees (Timmins et al. .2003).

 The diet consists mainly of insects, especially beetles but they also eat fruit. Although they are quite common in some of there habitats they are quite shy and difficult to observe or capture. The omit a shrill call when they are climbing but very little else is know of their vocalisations Very little is known about the reproductive cycle but it thought that litter sizes are small due to fact that they have less fewer mammae than T. glis

Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

There are no major threats to the species, but they may be undergoing localized declines in parts of their range due to habitat loss. It is present in several national parks and protected areas. Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, and in Lao PDR in Hin Namno National Biodiversity Conservation Area, Nam Ghong Provincial Protected Area, and Hin Namno NBCA. It is listed on CITES Appendix II.