rat Drymoreomys-albimaculatus

Drymoreomys albimaculatus.

A new rodent living in treetops was discovered recently in the Atlantic Forest, one of Brazil’s most-ravaged ecosystems, according to a report.

The foot-long creature, referred to as a white-spotted mountain rat or “Drymoreomys albimaculatus,” lives at an altitude of 1,000 meters in mountain ranges in southeast Brazil, biologist Alexandre Percequillo told Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper…

“An evolutionary mystery hangs over this rodent species because the closest species to him lives in an arid valley of the Peruvian Andes,” said Percequillo, a researcher with the University of Sao Paulo who described the new species in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

“The fact that both species belong to groups typical of mountain regions may explain their similarity,” Percequillo said.

The rodent has “pads” on the bottom of its feet and between its fingers, allowing it to negotiate tree branches, from which it hangs.

It is too early to determine if the species is threatened by extinction, according to Percequillo.

The Atlantic Forest, which at one time covered 15 percent of Brazil, has been greatly reduced. Its destruction is blamed on urbanization, farming and logging, among other things.


Image credit: Folha.com