Science and Technology News

Discovering new species of squirrel for Vietnamese science

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Scientists from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Vietnam National Museum of Nature, and the Graduate University of Science and Technology under Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), coordinated with scientists from Kyoto and Obihiro Universities (Japan) to document several new species of squirrel for science, publishing their findings in Journal of Mammalogy (Volume 99, Issue 4, 13 August 2018, Pages 813–825). The new species is called Hon Khoai squirrel, with the scientific name Callosciurus honkhoaiensis.

Holotype of this new squirrel was collected at Hon Khoai Island, the southern province of Ca Mau, Vietnam. The specimen is currently kept at the Department of Vertebrate Biology, the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, code IEBR-M-6439. In comparison with other species of squirrels in the Indochinese Peninsula, the squirrel is smaller in size than the Callosciurus, especially in body length and skull size. In morphological characteristics, the squirrels are different from the calligraphic tree of the Callosciurus family, with the white tail.

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So far, Hon Khoai squirrel has only been recognized in Hon Khoai Island. Continued research is needed to determine its distribution in the islands in southern Vietnam, and the population of the species on the island, in order to apply the best solutions for conditions of the island, and it may be verified as the only endemic species on Hon Khoai Island, Ca Mau province.

Information provider: Nguyen Truong Son, Tatsuo Oshida
Dang Huy Phuong, Bui Tuan Hai and Masaharu Motokawa
Translated by Tuyet Nhung
Link to vietnamese version

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