Thai National Parks

Mammals of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Pygmy treeshrew

Binomial name: Tupaia minor, Albert Charles Lewis Günther, 1876

The pygmy treeshrew (Tupaia minor) is a species of treeshrew in the family Tupaiidae. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The generic name is derived from the Malay word tupai meaning squirrel or small animals that resemble squirrels.

Distribution

T.minor is distributed in peninsular Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, the Lingga Archipelago (Indonesia), Borneo, offshore islands of Laut (Indonesia), and Banggi and Balambangan (Malaysia). From the Catalogue of Mammal Skins in Sarawak Museum, Kuching, Sarawak, more than 30 individuals of T. minor have been collected from 1891 to 1991. The specimens were mostly caught in Mt Penrisen, Mt Dulit, Mt Poi, Gunung Gading, Bau, Ulu Baram, Saribas, Kuching, and Forest Research.

The species has no fossil record.

Morphology and appearance

T. minor can be distinguished from other treeshrews by its appearance. It has upper body hair banded light and dark, giving a speckled olive-brown appearance. The upper parts are buffy and often have a reddish tinge towards the rear. The limbs are equal in length and have long claws. The maximum total length is about 450 mm, half of which is the tail. The tail is long and thin, and its upper side is darker than the body.

Behavior, diet and reproduction

T. minor is diurnal (active in the daytime). It is often seen 3 to 8 m above the ground, sometimes up to 20 m, travelling along lianas or branches of small trees. They spend most of their time on the ground and in low bushes, nesting in tree roots and fallen timber. T. minor moves in a semiplantigrade posture which allows it to keep its centre of gravity close to the tree. The claws on its hands and feet are quite sharp and moderately curved, which is useful for climbing.

Tupaia minor is omnivorous; its diet includes insects and fruit. Scandentia has little economic significance because they do little damage to crops or plantations. However, T. minor may be a seed disperser for several Ficus species.

Litters of one to three young are born after a gestation period of 45 to 55 days. Their maximum lifespan is around 9 to 10 years.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Scandentia
Family
Tupaiidae
Genus
Tupaia
Species
Tupaia minor

Common names

  • English:
    • Lesser treeshrew
    • Pygmy tree shrew

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Range map of Tupaia minor in Thailand