The Nesomyidae are a family of African rodents in the large and complex superfamily Muroidea. It includes several subfamilies, all of which are native to either continental Africa or to Madagascar. Included in this family are Malagasy rodents, climbing mice, African rock mice, swamp mice, pouched rats, and the white-tailed rat.

Temporal range: Late Oligocene–Recent
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Nesomyidae
Major, 1897
Type genus
Peters, 1870




Nesomyids are small- to medium-sized rodents, with the largest being the size of a rat. Physically, they may resemble mice, rats, voles, or hamsters, depending on the species and subfamily. Their diets vary from fairly strict herbivory to nearly pure insectivory. Their habits are similarly variable, with some species climbing trees, and others burrowing in the ground. They give birth to up to four young after a gestation period around six weeks.[1]



Many of these animals were once thought to be related to other groups of muroid rodents, but this African-based clade has been proposed and confirmed on the basis of genetic studies.[citation needed] Such alternate arrangement include the pouched rats in the family Muridae, and the white-tailed rat in the family Cricetidae. Likewise, all members of the Nesomyidae are often placed in the family Muridae along with all other members of the Muroidea.[2]

Nesomyids are classified in six subfamilies, 21 genera, and 68 species.



  1. ^ Corbet, Gordon (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 666–670. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
  2. ^ Michaux, Johan; Reyes, Aurelio; Catzefelis, François (November 2001). "Evolutionary history of the most speciose mammals: molecular phylogeny of muroid rodents". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 18 (11): 2017–2031. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a003743. PMID 11606698.
  • Jansa, Sharon A.; Weksler, Marcelo (April 2004). "Phylogeny of muroid rodents: relationships within and among major lineages as determined by IRBP gene sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 31 (1): 256–276. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.002. PMID 15019624.
  • Steppan, Scott J.; Adkins, Ronald M.; Anderson, Joel (August 2004). "Phylogeny and divergence-date estimates of rapid radiations in muroid rodents based on multiple nuclear genes". Systematic Biology. 53 (4): 533–553. doi:10.1080/10635150490468701. PMID 15371245.