Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Northern Treeshrew
Tupaia belangeri1
Range Southeast Asia
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Scandentia
Family Tupaiidae
Genus Tupaia
Species Tupaia belangeri
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Northern treeshrew (Tupaia belangeri), is a species of treeshrew in the Tupaiidae family. It is native to Southeast Asia.

1, the German zoologist Johann Andreas Wagner first used the specific name Cladobates belangeri for treeshrews that had been collected in Pegu during a French expedition to Southeast Asia. These specimens were described by Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1834 in whose opinion they did not differ sufficiently from Tupaia tana to assign a specific rank.


Results of a telemetry study involving northern treeshrews showed that their body temperature varies from 35 °C (95 °F) during the night to 40 °C (104 °F) during the day. This difference is larger than in other endotherms, and indicates that the circadian rhythms of body temperature and locomotor activity are synchronized.

Complete mitochondrial genome data support the hypothesis of a closer phylogenetic relationship of Tupaia to rabbits than to primates. The northern treeshrew was one of 16 mammals whose genomes were sequenced by staff of the Broad Institute, which released a low-coverage assembly of the genome in June 2006. The genome will be useful in comparisons with the other genomes to identify genes.

In Medical Research[]

Tupaia belangeri has attained growing interest for use as a medical model. In 2002, an article was published describing that the primary hepatocytes of Tupaia belangeri could be used as a model for studying the Hepatitis C virus, which is a major cause of chronic hepatitis worldwide. Other scientists used Tupaia belangeri to study the development of photo reception, investigation of retinal cones, and refractive state and ocular component dimensions of the eye. Many studies have been done regarding eye structure, development, and vision using the Tupaia belangeri model because of the similarity to human eye structure and sight that is uncharacteristic of conventional small lab animals, such as rodents.