14 new species of shrews have been discovered in Sulawesi

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A publication from Rafa Malmagro ? (@malmagrok)

On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, after almost a decade of searching, scientists have found 14 new species of shrews.

This is the largest discovery of new mammals in the last 90 years, they say. In the period from 2010 to 2018, researchers studied a total of 1,368 individuals of shrews. DNA analysis showed that they belong to 21 species, and only 7 of them are known to science.

The new species belong to the genus belozubok (Crocidura). They were divided into five species groups: “long-tailed”, “small-bodied”, “ordinary”, Rhoditis and “thick-tailed”. They differ in the proportions of the body, the length and thickness of the fur, as well as the color of the paws: in some animals they are white, in others they are dark.

Shrews are a very diverse group of mammals. To date, 461 species of these insectivorous animals, close relatives of moles and hedgehogs, have been identified.

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