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20 June 2022 The Roof Rat, Rattus rattus, in Virginia
Ralph P. Eckerlin, Paige Berends, Cassidy Downing, Kurt E. Galbreath
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We collected a single specimen of Rattus rattus (Roof Rat) in Highland County, VA, a previously unknown locality for the species. We collected ecto- and endoparasites, including the louse Polyplax spinulosa, the tick Dermacentor variabilis (American Dog Tick), and the nematode Aspicularis americana. which we archived along with the host voucher specimen. Sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene confirmed the rodent species identification based on comparisons to R. rattus sequences available in the GenBank database. Herein we review specimen records of Roof Rats and Rattus norvegicus (Brown Rat). Both species have a deep history in Virginia, but Roof Rats appear to have declined in coastal cities, while Brown Rats have become more common in those areas. Roof Rats apparently persist in rural relictual populations such as that identified in Highland County.

Ralph P. Eckerlin, Paige Berends, Cassidy Downing, and Kurt E. Galbreath "The Roof Rat, Rattus rattus, in Virginia," Northeastern Naturalist 29(2), N40-N45, (20 June 2022).
Published: 20 June 2022
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