Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New mouse species found in the Philippines


Surprising find may be new genus

A team of American and Filipino biologists has discovered a new species –or perhaps a new genus – of mouse in the Philippines that took them quite by surprise.

The tiny mouse was captured on Mount Banahaw, a national park in the south-central portion of Luzon Island, only about 50 miles from Manila.

The bright-orange animal has a large head, heavily muscled jaws and powerful teeth that can open hard nuts. It weighs about 15 grams, and has a body length of 3 inches and a tail of four inches. The mammal’s whiskers are about eight times as wide as its head, and there is a second set of "whiskers" that arise from a patch at the back edge of each eye.

"Nearly all of the many unique small mammals on Luzon Island are descended from just two species that reached the Philippines from the Asian mainland about 10-15 million years ago," said Lawrence Heaney, Curator of mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago and co-leader of the team.

Heaney has been studying biological diversity in the Philippines for over 20 years, and describes the Philippines as having biological diversity equal to "the Galapagos Islands times 10, with one of the highest concentrations of unique mammals of any place in the world."

Eric Rickart, Curator of vertebrates in the Utah Museum of Natural History, said it was "not related to any of the other rodents" found in the northern Philippines.

The new species was found by a joint team from The Field Museum, the Philippine National Museum, Utah Museum of Natural History, and Laksambuhay Conservation in the Philippines. The team was scouting the mountain, considered a holy site by some Filipino sects, for unusual small mammal species.

According to Danilo Balete, a biologist in the Philippines and co-leader of the team, they captured the tiny mouse several yards above the forest floor on top of a tangle of large vines in an area of regenerating lowland forest. Logging had previously damaged the area, but Balete said, "The local farmers organization has insisted on replanting native trees and allowing the forest to regenerate as a means of protecting their watershed." The farmers depend on rice and vegetables that they grow for their livelihood.

Only about 3% of the original mature lowland rain forest in the Philippines remains today, and it had been feared that many species had been lost even before they were discovered. The Philippines is often listed as one of the highest global priorities for conservation.

"Finding this wonderful new species in lowland forests gives us greater hope for successful conservation of biological diversity in the Philippines, and is due to the hard work and energetic defense of the forest by the local farmers," Heaney said. "Given that second growth forest is widespread, this species may eventually prove to be pretty common."

Heaney and Rickart said the animal is not related to any of the other rodents known on the main Philippines island of Luzon and they are not clear yet as to what genus the mammal belongs. It may represent a new genus, the taxonomic level above species. The single specimen, which will become the type specimen of the new species, will be studied in Chicago, and then returned to the Philippine National Museum.

Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Elisea Gozun hailed what she described as an "excellent" find, which further proves the vast biological diversity of the country. "The diversified presence of our flora and fauna is beneficial to the country’s economic and social development," she said.

Greg Borzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Make way for the mini flying machines
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>