2 new species of mice found in PH mountains: study

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2019 09:36 PM | Updated as of Jun 07 2019 10:59 PM

Researchers have discovered 2 species of mice in the mountains of Luzon, according to a paper in the newly published Journal of Mammalogy.

The first one, called Rhynchomys labo, was discovered on Mount Labo in Camarines Sur, while a second one, Rhynchomys mingan, was discovered on Mount Mingan in Aurora.

The discovery was made through the help of Field Museum, Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah, University of Kansas, Louisiana State University, and University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB).

Both discoveries were published in the Journal of Mammalogy, written by Eric Rickart and co-author Larry Heaney. Among those who contributed in the research are late UPLB professor Danilo Balete and Prof. Philip Alviola.

Rickart said the two species have snouts that "resemble tweezer-like beaks" and "hop like small kangaroos."

Co-author of the journal Dr. Larry Heaney described the rodents as "interestingly cute and docile" and feel like "you are holding a plush toy."

"All species of Rhynchomys are restricted to high-elevation, montane, and mossy forest habitats, separated by intervening lowlands. These discoveries highlight the importance of isolated highland areas in the historical diversification of Southeast Asian murines, and as current centers of endemism," the abstract of the paper said.

Philipp Alviola, curator for small mammals at the UPLB Museum of Natural History, said their eating habits are likened to a "hungry kid eating and playing spaghetti."

“Have you seen the classic Bella Notte scene in ‘Lady and the Tramp’ when they ate spaghetti? Think of something like that, but instead of the rodents sucking up the spaghetti, they are slurping on earthworms,” he said in an interview published on UPLB's newsletter.

In connection with their discovery, the researchers in a press release called on the public to protect Philippine forestry.

"The two new rodents are examples of the generally poorly known but incredible biodiversity of the Philippines, which boasts more unique species of mammals per square mile than anywhere else on Earth,” they said.