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Researchers have discovered a new native species of rat in Australia

Researchers have discovered a new native species of rat in Australia

Thanks to genetic research carried out by ANU and CSIRO, two new species of microscopic rat have been discovered in Australia, highlighting the need for specific conservation efforts and highlighting the species' unique ecological role. Above is a photo of Pseudomys philparensis. Credit: Ian Poole

Australia can claim two new ones species Thanks to the study of native rodents Australian National University (ANU).

The aptly named smooth mouse was previously thought to be a single species covering a wide swath of the country, from the Pilbara in Western Australia to parts of the Northern Territory and through Queensland to the New Zealand border – South Wales.

But ANU researchers and CSIRO I thought there might be more to the story.

Lead author Dr Emily Roycroft from ANU said we now know there are actually three distinct species.

“Using new genetic technology, we have confirmed that this delicate mouse belongs to not just one, but three species. Identifying undescribed species and giving them official names will go a long way to ensuring that they are properly cared for.

Dr Roycroft said that although the species were difficult to tell apart to the untrained eye, the discovery was important for the future of the tiny mouse.

Security implications

“The two new species have not received conservation or research attention because we didn't know they were there,” Dr Roycroft said. “For example, we don't know if the population decline was not detected because the three species were assessed as a single unit. This subtle mouse is not a conservation priority, but it was assumed to have a distribution three times larger than it actually is. This will allow us to re-evaluate.

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Dr. Roycroft said the smooth mouse differs from mice you might encounter in your home or garden in several important ways.

“House rats, black rats and Norway rats are invasive species introduced to Australia from European colonization. They are very different from native rodents, both evolutionary and ecological. They compete with our native species for resources,” he said. is a part of They are an important part of Australia's natural environment and ecosystems. Gentle mice are our little Australian rodents: they weigh up to six grams, so they're really tiny.

The study also found that microscopic mice adapt to their environment, whether it's a barren desert or a jungle.

Three species now have common names that refer to their location: the Western Delicate Mouse or Pilbara Delicate Mouse, the Eastern Delicate Mouse and the Northern Delicate Mouse.

This study was funded by BioPlatforms Australia.