Scientists have discovered two new rat species in the Philippines. The creatures were found using worms to draw them out of their habitats. This new finding aids to the knowledge about the Philippine archipelago’s rich biodiversity. More about the research can be found in the Journal of Mammalogy.
Discovering the New Species
The newfound creatures are shrew-rat species. They are among a very long list of mammals that are indigenous to Luzon, which is the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. This area is very high in biodiversity, but this is at risk of being lost. The science community is working hard to educate legislators about this in the hopes of having them pass more laws to protect the ecosystem while there is still time.
Researchers working on the project used some live worms to bait the rodents out of hiding. They also attribute some of their success in locating the new species to a stroke of sheer luck. The new species are called Rhynchomys labo and R. migan. Their feet are similar to kangaroo feet, and they have a lot of fur as well as pointed snouts.
It was not the first time that field scientists had tried to find these unique rodents. Previous attempts used standard rodent bait. This is usually a coconut and peanut butter treat. This time around, the team of researchers decided to go for a more natural, live, and juicy bait. Thy used earthworms in their traits, and by the next day, they had trapped their intended targets.
The team included Eric Rickart, who works at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City as a curator, as well as Lawrence Heaney of the Field Museum in Chicago.