Two new species of greater glider, a cat-size marsupial that lives in the forests of Australia, have been discovered Down Under after scientists ran DNA tests on new tissue samples of the animals. A new study published in Nature’s public access Scientific Reports journal details the findings.
The discovery is significant because it means gliders are more diverse than previously thought, adding to the biodiversity of animals found in Australia.
“It’s really exciting to find this biodiversity under our noses,” study researcher Kara Youngentob told The West Australian. “The division of the greater glider into multiple species reduces the previous widespread distribution of the original species, further increasing conservation concern for that animal and highlighting the lack of information about the other greater glider species.”
The nocturnal greater glider lives inside hollow trees during the day and at night roams the forest looking for its favorite food — eucalyptus leaves. True to the animal’s namesake, the creature can glide up to 328 feet (100 meters) in the air.
Effective conservation of endangered animals relies on accurate classification, so these two new species could possibly need protection just like the original glider, which is currently listed as “threatened” due to habitat destruction in Australia. Even before devastating bushfires killed millions of animals in Australia, the Petauroides volans population numbers were declining…Read more>>