New rat discovered in Indonesia

Christine’s Margareta rat. Photo by: Alessio Mortelliti/Sapienza University.

Researchers have discovered a new species of rodent in Indonesia’s Mekongga Mountains.

  • Christine’s Margareta rat (Margaretamys christinae), has been discovered on an Indonesian island called Sulawesi. It is only the fourth of its kind found (Margaretamy).
  • Alessio Mortelliti discovered the animal and says it differs to the other three by being smaller, having a white-tipped tail and living at high altitudes.
  • The rat was named after Alessio Mortelliti’s girlfriend.
  • “I strongly believe that it is very likely that several other undiscovered species may be present in the area, including other Margaretamys species,” Mortelliti said.
  • As a result of deforestation for agriculture, Christine’s Margareta rat may well be under serious threat. Speaking about all four rodents Mortelliti explained, “These are all forest species, so are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation”.
  • Mortelliti believes the creation of a protected area will help these species survive.
  • Discovering new mammals is rare. For example, in 2009, a total of 19,232 species were discovered; only 42 of these were mammals.

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