New, possibly arboreal rice rat species discovered in Ecuador —

“In whole, the expeditions to the Kutukú area in southeastern Ecuador concerned 1,200 lure nights, however just one specimen of the brand new species Mindomys kutuku was discovered,” says Dr. Claudia Koch, curator of herpetology on the LIB, Museum Koenig Bonn, explaining the trouble that went into finding the uncommon animal. From the collected specimen, the dry pores and skin, skeleton and tissue had been preserved for the collections. Preservation will permit future analysis to detect environmental adjustments, study extra in regards to the ecology of the animals and vegetation — and securely doc the brand new species description, which was printed in late February within the journal Evolutionary Systematics. The rice rat genus Mindomys was beforehand thought of monotypic and included solely the kind species Mindomys hammondi. This species is thought from just a few specimens, all of which had been collected within the foothill forests of the Andes in northwestern Ecuador.

Utilizing computed tomography photos obtained for the brand new species at LIB and for the holotype (specimen from which a species was described) of M. hammondi on the Pure Historical past Museum in London, the researchers Jorge Brito of the Instituto Nacional de la Biodiversidad (INABIO), Claudia Koch, Nicolás Tinoco from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) and Ulyses Pardiñas from the Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución del Sur (IDEAus-CONICET) had been in a position to examine the skulls of the 2 species in nice element in a 3D mannequin and distinguish between the 2 species.

The grownup male of M. kutuku measures just below 35 cm from snout to tip of tail, of which the tail makes up about 20 cm. It has a darkish reddish-brown dorsal coloration and a pale yellow ventral fur.

Because the solely specimen discovered was captured with the assistance of a floor lure set, it couldn’t be noticed in its habitat. Thus, as with its sister species M. hammondi, which was described in 1913, just about nothing is thought in regards to the pure historical past of the brand new species. The scientists suspect that each of them might be arboreal species. A tail that’s considerably longer than the physique size and likewise lined with lengthy hairs might be two options that point out an arboreal life-style. Nonetheless, aboreality is the least studied lifestyle throughout the New World mice and a dependable research of the anatomical elements typical of this lifestyle remains to be missing.

Beforehand, Mindomys data had been restricted to the western Andean foothills of Ecuador. The Kutukú materials now reveals that the genus additionally happens on the Amazonian aspect of the Andes and underscores the precious organic significance of the remoted mountain ranges in jap Ecuador.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Jorge Brito, Claudia Koch, Nicolás Tinoco, Ulyses F. J. Pardiñas. A brand new species of Mindomys (Rodentia, Cricetidae) with remarks on exterior traits as indicators of arboreality in sigmodontine rodents. Evolutionary Systematics, 2022; 6 (1): 35 DOI: 10.3897/evolsyst.6.76879

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