The new research ensures that there are actually three separate species of gliding mammals in Australia rather than one.
Two new species of greater gliding marsupials were discovered in Australia after scientists conducted DNA tests on tissues.
Through a study published in Scientific Report, researchers found that gliders are more diverse than previously thought, increasing the country’s biodiversity.
The Greater Glider is a marsupial the size of a possum that lives in the forests of eastern Australia, crawls into tree hollows during the day and soars up to 100 meters into the air at night in search of its leaves. favorite eucalyptus. For each area, there are different species.
The southern species, which inhabits the eucalyptus forests of eastern Victoria and New South Wales, is the heavyweight of the family. Its puffy fleece makes it appear the size of a common possum, but underneath it is really a thin and light marsupial suitable for gliding.
The northern glider is about the size of the ring-tailed opossum and lives in the eucalyptus forests between Mackay and Cairns in Queensland. The central glider, which is between the northern and southern species in size, inhabits a range throughout southern Queensland and up to Mackay.
Research suggests that the largest gliders, with the Latin name Petauroides volans, are three distinct species that now include Petauroides minor and Petauroides armillatus.
Very little is known about the other two species, according to another study author, Australian National University ecologist Kara Youngentob. “If we don’t start to solve them, we could end up losing them,” he said.
Gliders were considered common in their range 30 years ago, but are now listed as vulnerable on the national list of wildlife at risk. Loss of habitat from logging and urban development, along with climate change, has driven them from many former strongholds.
The impacts of the 2019 and 2020 wildfires on that species should now be understood as proportionally greater, Youngentob said.