kids encyclopedia robot

Bramble Cay melomys facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Bramble Cay melomys
Conservation status

Extinct  (2015) (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Genus: Melomys
Species: rubicola

The Bramble Cay melomys, or Bramble Cay mosaic-tailed rat (Melomys rubicola), is an extinct species of rodent in the family Muridae. While it was similar to the Cape York melomys it had some protein differences and a coarser tail. It was genetically different to species from Australia and New Guinea. It lived in burrows it had dug among plants, or under branches and leaves on the ground. It was a nocturnal animal, and scientists believe it was a vegetarian.

The Bramble Cay melomys was known only from a small population in Bramble Cay, a vegetated coral cay of 340 by 150 metres (1,120 ft × 490 ft). The cay is in the eastern part of Torres Strait, off the northern tip of Australia. It is only 50 km from New Guinea. The melomys were probably trapped on the island by rising sea levels after the last ice age. It is also possible to have come from the Fly River, perhaps floating on branches. Scientists do not know much about the animals that live in the Fly River area.

In the 1800s, there were lots of melomys on the island. A search in 1998 found 42 animals. Another search in 2002 found 10 animals. In 2004 a search found 12, but the melomys have not been seen since. During this time, the sea level has risen, making the island smaller, and turtles and sea birds have eaten most of the plants. Scientists believe the Bramble Cay melomys is extinct. It is possible that the species may be found on nearby islands as many of these have never been searched. However, in June 2016, researchers from Queensland's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, and the University of Queensland reported that the species had indeed become extinct.


Images for kids

kids search engine
Bramble Cay melomys Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.