Sunday, 20 May 2018

New species of shrew discovered on a single mountaintop in the Philippines



by Mongabay.com on 11 May 2018

The newly described Palawanosorex muscorum, or the Palawan moss shrew, is known to live only near the peak of Mount Mantalingajan on Palawan Island in the southern Philippines.

The shrew has a stout body and broad forefeet with long claws, which it uses to dig through humus on the forest floor to look for earthworms.

The moss shrew has no close known relatives in Asia, and how it came to live on Mount Mantalingajan is a mystery, researchers say.

Scientists have described a new species of shrew that’s known to live only near the top of Mount Mantalingajan, the highest mountain on Palawan Island in the southern Philippines.

The animal was first spotted in 2007 by the late Danilo “Danny” Balete, a Filipino scientist and research associate at the Field Museum in Chicago, U.S., when his team was surveying the mountain’s biodiversity. But they could not identify the species. Now, Balete’s collegues have confirmed that the shrew found near the mountain’s peak is not just a new species, but belongs to an entirely new genus.

The shrew, dubbed Palawanosorex muscorum, or the Palawan moss shrew, has a stout body and broad forefeet with long claws, which it uses to dig through humus on the forest floor to look for earthworms, the researchers report in a new study published in the Journal of Mammology. The shrew also has a short tail covered by short, dense fur. By contrast, the Palawan shrew (Crocidura palawanensis), another species that’s endemic to the Philippines, has a slender body, slender feet and a very long tail covered with long bristles.


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