Heavily-populated California may be one of the last places one would expect to find a new mammal, but the Sacramento Bee reports that genetic evidence has revealed a new subspecies of red fox.
“The fact that the evidence is pointing toward it as a native species – and a native species that we didn’t know about – is kind of an amazing development,” Armand Gonzales, a wildlife program manager at the California Department of Fish and Game, told the Sacramento Bee. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
The subspecies, now named the Sacramento Valley red fox, was long thought to be an alien species, introduced from the East Coast. But genetic testing by Ben Sacks, an assistant professor of biology at both the University of California, Davis, and California State University, Sacramento, shows that not only are the foxes unique, but they are Californian through-and-through. Davis research will be published in Conservation Genetics.
Davis says he believes the Sacramento Valley red fox are most closely related to the endangered Sierra Nevadan fox. Next he plans to study whether or not the newly-uncovered subspecies is threatened.
The Sacramento Valley red fox is outwardly identical to the red fox.
(09/07/2009) A five week expedition into a remote extinct volcano has uncovered a treasure trove of new species in Papua New Guinea, including what may be the world’s largest rat, a fanged frog, and a grunting fish. In all the expedition estimates it may have found around forty species unknown to science. The expedition was undertaken by a BBC film crew and scientists in January. Local trackers led them into the unexplored jungle, hidden beneath the Bosavi volcano’s 2,800 meter summit. Six months prior to arrival, fields of spinach and sweet potato were planted to feed the expedition in such a remote area.
(08/10/2009) Scientists from a variety of organizations have found over 350 new species in the Eastern Himalayas, including a flying frog, the world’s smallest deer, and a gecko which has walked the earth for 100-million-years, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The report, entitled Where World’s Collide, warns that these rare biological treasures, as well as numerous other species, are threatened in the Eastern Himalayas by climate change.
(07/07/2009) A new species of monkey has been discovered in the Brazilian Amazon, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society. The monkey, a type of saddleback tamarin, has been named Mura’s saddleback tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis mura) after the Mura Indians, the Amerindian ethnic group that lives in the Purus and Madeira river basins where the monkey occurs.
(06/25/2009) The Natural History Museum in Geneva, Switzerland has announced the discovery of a bat species new to science on the Comoros Island arichpelago off the south-east coast of Africa. The bat weighs only 5 grams (0.17 ounces).
(04/23/2009) Seemingly identical animals on the outside may in fact be completely different species, according to scientists who have made a startling discovery that could have widespread implications for biology.
(04/21/2009) A two week expedition into the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) in the Philippines has led to several discoveries. In the 80,454 hectare park (nearly 200,000 acres), the expedition found what may be new species of insects and plants, in addition to a frog likely unknown to science. They also discovered evidence of the Visayan spotted deer, considered to be the world’s rarest deer and one of the rarest mammals. The team discovered droppings from the deer, which will be analyzed for food content.