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Dwarf cloud rat rediscovered after 112 years
Date:5/1/2008

at, a spectacular animal of 1.5 kg with long, flowing black fur that they found to be common in mossy forest at 2,600 to 2,800 meters elevation, as well as three species of small rodents that feed primarily on earthworms. One of these small rodents was originally discovered by the same Field Museum research team and formally described as a new species only in 2006. Mt. Pulag is the only place currently known that has four species of cloud rats known to be present.

The team found that the pest rodents that cause damage around buildings and in the vegetable gardens on Mt. Pulag are not native species. Instead they are species, such as the Norway rat, that were accidentally brought to the Philippines centuries ago. The native species avoid humans, live in the forest, and cause very little if any economic damage. Some, like the dwarf cloud rat, probably are not able to withstand much disturbance of their natural habitat.

Cloud rats are one of the most spectacular cases of adaptive radiation by mammals anywhere in the world, with at least 15 species ranging in size from 2.6 kg to 15 grams, all living only in the Philippines. Cloud rats are a prime example of why biologists refer to the Philippines as "the Galapagos times ten," Heaney said. "The Philippines may have the greatest concentration of unique biological diversity, relative to its size, of any country in the world."


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Contact: Greg Borzo
gborzo@fieldmuseum.org
312-665-7106
Field Museum
Source:Eurekalert  

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Dwarf cloud rat rediscovered after 112 years
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