Leimacomyinaegroove-toothed forest mice


There is just one genus and species in this Old World murid subfamily: the groove-toothed forest mouse (Leimacomys b\\u00fcttneri). Little information is available on this subfamily, as it is only known from two specimens that were collected in 1890. (Musser and Carleton, 2005; Nowak, 1999)

Geographic Range

The two specimens representing this group are from Togo, in western Africa. (Nowak, 1999)


The two known specimens were found in tropical forest. (Nowak, 1999)

Physical Description

Groove-toothed forest mice measure about 118 mm long, and the tail adds an extra 37 mm. They are dark brown or gray-brown above and pale gray below. The ears are small and furry. There are four well-developed digits on the forefeet, and five on the hind feet. They have long claws, especially on the hind feet, and naked, scaly tails.

The leimacomyine dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 0/0, 3/3 = 16. The proodont upper incisors bear shallow grooves, and the third molars are not reduced in size. The upper molar rows diverge anteriorly. Unlike dendromurines, the first crest of each first upper molar is not bicuspid. There is a small posterior cingulum on each first and second upper molar. The bony palate of leimacomyines extends posterior to the rear margins of the molar rows, and the incisive foramina are long and narrow. Groove-toothed forest mice have long, wide rostrums and a broad interorbital region with beaded edges. They have low temporal ridges and small auditory bullae. The zygomatic plates are relatively broad, and the anterior portion of each extends forward past the zygomatic arches in a conspicuous spine. The masseteric knob or tubercle is poorly developed. (Carleton and Musser, 1984; Nowak, 1999)


The mating system of groove-toothed forest mice is unknown.

No information is available on the reproduction of leimacomyines.

Besides the fact that they are mammals, and therefore females nurse their young, no information is available on the investment that groove-toothed forest mice make in their offspring.

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female


The lifespan of leimacomyines is unknown.


Nothing is known about the behavior of these rodents, except that they are probably terrestrial. (Carleton and Musser, 1984; Nowak, 1999)

Communication and Perception

Groove-toothed forest mice presumably sense visual, tactile, auditory, and chemical cues, as most mammals can, but the acuteness of these senses and the way in which they communicate with one another is unknown.

Food Habits

Groove-toothed forest mice are presumed to be at least partially insectivorous. (Nowak, 1999)


There are no reports of predation on leimacomyines.

Ecosystem Roles

If groove-toothed forest mice are indeed insectivorous, then they have a role as secondary consumers. They are most likely preyed upon by higher-level consumers as well.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of leimacomyines on humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known negative effects of leimacomyines on humans.

Conservation Status

Because so little is known about it, including whether or not it still exists, Leimacomys is listed as data deficient by the IUCN. No surveys of the area where the two known specimens were found have been undertaken to date. (Van der Straeten and Schlitter, 2004)

  • IUCN Red List [Link]
    Not Evaluated


Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Allison Poor (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


Carleton, M., G. Musser. 1984. Muroid rodents. Pp. 289-379 in S Anderson, J Jones Jr., eds. Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Denys, C., J. Michaux, F. Catzeflis, S. Ducrocq, P. Chevret. 1995. Morphological and molecular data against the monophyly of Dendromurinae (Muridae: Rodentia). Bonner Zoologische Beitraege, 45(3-4): 173-190.

Ellerman, J. 1940. The Families and Genera of Living Rodents, vol. I. London: British Museum (Natural History).

Musser, G., M. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. D Wilson, D Reeder, eds. Mammal Species of the World. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, vol. II. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Simpson, G. 1945. The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 85: 1-350.

Thomas, O. 1896. On the genera of rodents: an attempt to bring up to date the current arrangement of the order. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 1012-1028.

Van der Straeten, E., D. Schlitter. 2004. "Leimacomys buettneri" (On-line). 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed June 24, 2005 at www.redlist.org.