New species of flying squirrel from Southwest China added to the rarest and 'most wanted'

phys.org | 2/5/2019 | Staff
stefania (Posted by) Level 3
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Described in 1981, the genus Biswamoyopterus is regarded as the most mysterious and rarest amongst all flying squirrels. It comprises two large (1.4-1.8 kg) species endemic to southern Asia: the Namdapha flying squirrel (India) and the Laotian giant flying squirrel (Lao PDR). Each is only known from a single specimen discovered in 1981 and 2013, respectively.

Recently, in 2018, a specimen identifiable as Biswamoyopterus was unexpectedly found in the collections of the Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ), Chinese Academy of Sciences by in-house expert Quan Li. It had been collected from Mount Gaoligong in Yunnan Province, Southwest China.

Individual - Namdapha - Species - Loss - Latter

Initially, the individual was considered to belong to the "missing" Namdapha flying squirrel: a species considered as critically endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. The latter had not ever been recorded since its original description in 1981 and was already listed as one of the top 25 "most wanted" species in the world by the Global Wildlife Conservation.

However, a closer look at the specimen from KIZ made it clear that the squirrel exhibited a colouration, as well as skull and teeth anatomy, distinct from any of the previously known species in the genus.

Colleagues - China - Xuelong - Jiang - Xueyou

Subsequently, joined by his colleagues from China (Xuelong Jiang, Xueyou Li, Fei Li, Ming Jiang, Wei Zhao and Wenyu Song) and Stephen Jackson from...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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