Art. VI.—Note on Mus maorium (Hutton), with Exhibition of Specimen.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 5th October, 1892.]
I have much pleasure in exhibiting this evening a specimen of the true Maori rat (Mus maorium), about which there has been from time to time much discussion in the pages of our Transactions. This example came from Nelson, where it was obtained at the time of the great irruption of rats into that district so fully recorded by Mr. Meeson and other local observers. It is identical with the species of rat collected by Mr. Reischek some years ago on the Little Barrier and other islands in the Hauraki Gulf, specimens of which were taken by me to England in 1886. I compared these with specimens sent to the British Museum by H.E. Sir George Grey about the year 1848, and found the rat to be the same. Mr. Oldfield Thomas, of the Zoological Department, who assisted me in this examination and comparison, is of opinion that the species is identical with the Polynesian rat (Mus exulans)
(Peale, Expl. Exped.). This form is known to have a wide range, there being specimens in the British Museum from the Fiji Islands, from Norfolk Island, and from New Caledonia.
Mr. Oldfield Thomas told me that he had fully satisfied himself, by a comparison of the skull and other bones, of the identity of Professor Hutton's Mus maorium (described from fossil remains) with the rat now before you.