Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Biswamoyopterus laoensis: New Species of Flying Squirrel from Laos

An international team of biologists from Thailand, UK and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has described a new species of flying squirrel in the genus Biswamoyopterus.

The new species is named Biswamoyopterus laoensis. The suggested common name is the Laotian giant flying squirrel.

Biswamoyopterus laoensis is a large flying squirrel that weighs 1.8 kg and measures about 42 inches (1.08 m) in total length – the body is about 18 inches (0.46 m) long and the tail is 24 inches (0.62 m) long.

“It is a remarkable discovery for science. It is very rare species with large body size,” explained Mr Daosavanh Sanamxay, a masters student at the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand and a lead author of a paper published in the journal Zootaxa.

“The specimen of the Laotian giant flying squirrel was incidentally found on display for sale at a bush meat market in Central Lao PDR about a year ago.”

“It is probable that the specimen was caught by a local hunter in either the Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area or the Khammouan Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation Area.”

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