Louisiana scientists identify 14 new species of shrews on Sulawesi

NEW ORLEANS (AP), Louisiana researchers discovered 14 new species on an Indonesian island. Seven species were known previously.

Louisiana scientists identify 14 new species of shrews on Sulawesi

There were many, and some of them look very similar. After a while Jake Esselstyn, a Louisiana State University biologist, and his colleagues started to search for Latin words that meant "ordinary" in Latin.

Esselstyn also named the seventh species of pointy-nosed, insect-eating mammals found on Sulawesi.

Crociduramediocris, "C. normalis," "C. Ordinaria," and "C. ordinaria" and "C.

Nathan S. Upham is an assistant researcher at Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences. He also created the online Mammal Diversity Database for American Society of Mammalogists. The paper contains 101 pages.

The study was published in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History Dec. 15, and included researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and Museums Victoria in Australia.

Esselstyn stated that it has been 90 years since so many new species have been identified in one paper. He said that 26 new species of South American marsupials were identified in the 1931 paper of George Henry Hamilton Tate. However, 12 of them were later discovered to not be distinct species, making a total of fourteen new species.

Esselstyn spent a decade traveling to Sulawesi, Indonesia to collect the animals. They are related to hedgehogs as well as moles. They weighed in at less than an AA battery. The smallest species weighed in at 3 grams, which is about one-tenth the weight of a pingpong balls, and the largest weighed in at 24 grams (0.85 ounces). The longest species had a body length of 95 millimeters (or about 3.7 inches).

He was initially trying to understand the origins of the six species in Crocidura. He said that he was curious about the interactions between shrews and their environment.

He quickly realized that the species were severely undercounted.

He said, "It was overwhelming because we couldn't figure how many species were there for the first few years."

Five species were identified in 1921, and another six in 1995. Esselstyn's group identified the seventh species, the hairy tailed shrew in 2019.

They examined 1,368 shrews for this paper. More than 90% of them were collected by Esselstyn’s group which trapped the animals on 12 mountain sites and two lowlands in Sulawesi.

The shape of the island is somewhat like a lower-case letter K, with the top of its stem bent sharply to the east.

Esselstyn stated that species diversity has been facilitated by their unusual shapes. "There are consistent boundaries among species, regardless of whether you're talking about frogs, macaques, or mice. This suggests that there are shared environmental mechanisms.

Researchers discovered at least seven such zones, roughly the island's center mass, three "legs", of the k and three zones along the long bent neck.

Esselstyn stated that genetic analysis could indicate when or how recently related species split and whether they have been in frequent contact since then.

It's a challenging problem. He said that sequencing genomes is now relatively affordable, so I believe we can accomplish it. "A few years back, it was impossible to do it, but it is now feasible."

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