CHICAGO-A team of Filipino and American scientists have rediscovered a highly distinctive mammal C a greater dwarf cloud rat C that was last seen 112 years ago. Furthermore, it has never before been discovered in its natural habitat and was thought by some to be extinct.
The greater dwarf cloud rat (Carpomys melanurus) has dense, soft reddish-brown fur, a black mask around large dark eyes, small rounded ears, a broad and blunt snout, and a long tail covered with dark hair. An adult weighs about 185 grams.
"This beautiful little animal was seen by biologists only once previously C by a British researcher in 1896 who was given several specimens by local people, so he knew almost nothing about the ecology of the species," said Lawrence Heaney, Curator of Mammals at the Field Museum and Project Leader. "Since then, the species has been a mystery, in part because there is virtually no forest left on Mt. Data, where it was first found."
On 24 April, the research team completed its field work, the first comprehensive survey of the small mammals of Mt. Pulag National Park, according to Samuel Penafiel, the Regional Executive Director for the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the Cordillera Administrative Region. Among the results was the capture of the dwarf cloud rat, which is a smaller relative of the giant clouds rats, spectacular animals found only on Luzon Island, but widespread and comparatively well known.
The dwarf cloud rat was captured by Danilo Balete, Project Co-Leader and Research Associate of the Philippine National Museum, in a patch of mature mossy forest (also called cloud forest) high on Mt. Pulag, at about 2,350 meters above sea level. It was in the canopy of a large tree, on a large horizontal branch covered by a thick layer of moss, orchids, and ferns, about 5 meters above ground, Balete said. "We had suspected from its broad, hand-like hind feet that it lived up in big trees,
|Contact: Greg Borzo|