New Glider Species Identified In Australia

Researchers in Australia have identified one of the most lovable animals in the country greater glider to be three different species. The researchteam belonged from –

  • James Cook University (JCU)
  • The Australian National University (ANU)
  • The University of Canberra
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

The researchers inspected the genetic formation of the greater glider which survives mostly by having its eucalyptus leaves and can glide up to 100 meters. It is found in the forest along the Great Dividing Range from northern Queensland to southern Victoria. The study has been published on Scientific Reports journal. The study found the species in the southern, central, and northern ranges.

Image Source – anu

Denise McGregor (JCU’s Ph.D. student) and Professor Andrew Krockenberger were in the group which confirmed that the greater glider is indeed multiple species. The genetic difference in the greater gliders had a lot of variation across their range as identified by Ms. McGregor. Previously there was a profound theory about it but it has now been confirmed.

Denise McGregor said, “There has been speculation for a while that there were more than one species of greater glider, but now we have proof from the DNA. It changes the whole way we think about them.”

McGregor and her team took tissue samples of 50 greater gliders from various regions of Australia and after the inspection, they came up to the conclusion that there was not only one type of greater glider.

After the research, it was concluded that three specific species form three broad populations in the Australian east coast which includes –

  • P. Volans (southern regions)
  • P. armillatus (central)
  • P. minor (north)

Professor Krockenberger said “Australia’s biodiversity just got a lot richer. It’s not every day that new mammals are confirmed, let alone two new mammals.”

Before this research, the greater glider was considered to be present very less in number which means that these animals were facing extinction. So, it can be said that as these species are now found to have three different forms they are present in much smaller groups and are vulnerable.

Dr. Kara Youngentob says “The identification and classification of species are essential for effective conservation management. This year Australia experienced a bushfire season of unprecedented severity, resulting in widespread habitat loss and mortality. As a result, there’s been an increased focus on understanding genetic diversity and structure of species to protect resilience in the face of climate change.”

Adding to it she also said, “The knowledge that there is now genetic support for multiple species, with distributions that are much smaller than the range of the previously recognized single species, should be a consideration in future conservation status decisions and management legislation.”

It is hoped that this new research would raise an alarm among us to keep these beautiful species grow more who are now identified into different forms that were never known before.

Source – anu

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