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Range of O. dimidiatus (yellow) in Central America
Range of O. dimidiatus (yellow) in Central America

Oryzomys dimidiatus, also known as the Nicaraguan oryzomys, Thomas's rice rat, or the Nicaraguan rice rat, is a rodent in the genus Oryzomys of the family Cricetidae. It is known from only three specimens, all collected in southeastern Nicaragua (range pictured) since 1904. Placed in Nectomys upon its discovery, it was later classified in its own subgenus of Oryzomys and finally recognized as closely related to other species now placed in Oryzomys, including the marsh rice rat and Oryzomys couesi, which occurs in the same region. With a head and body length of 118 to 128 mm (4.6 to 5.0 in), O. dimidiatus is a medium-sized rice rat. The upperparts are gray-brown and the underparts are grayish, not buffy as in O. couesi. The tail is only slightly darker above than below. All three specimens were caught near water and the species may be semiaquatic, spending some time in the water. There is currently not enough data to make a proper assessment of its conservation status. (This article is part of a featured topic: Oryzomys.)

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Artwork showing Murray (right) and Michael Brake with lightsabers as "Jedi rowers"
Artwork showing Murray (right) and Michael Brake with lightsabers as "Jedi rowers"

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Castle of St John the Baptist

The Castle of St John the Baptist, also called the Black Castle, is a circular fort in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It is located in the heart of the city, near the Parque Marítimo César Manrique and behind the Auditorio de Tenerife. Construction began in 1641 and was completed in 1644. The structure was later rebuilt in 1765 with the addition of a cylindrical tower facing the sea. It served as a military fort until 1924 and was converted to a military museum in 1948. A re-enactment of the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife takes place annually at the castle, commemorating the unsuccessful attempt by the British admiral Horatio Nelson to invade the city and archipelago on 25 July 1797.

Photograph credit: Thomas Wolf

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