Discovered: new species of parrot and mouse

A small island in the Philippines has been found to be inhabited by two new species of animal - a parrot and a mouse - that are found nowhere else on Earth.

The island of Camiguin is the smallest of the many thousands of Philippine islands and, despite being almost denuded of its natural tropical rainforest, it still harbours endemic animals that are new to science.

The bird is a hanging-parrot or Colasisi which has brilliant green body feathers, bright blue plumage on its thighs and throat and a scarlet-orange head and tail.

The new rodent is a Philippine forest mouse with large ears and eyes, a long tail and rusty-brown fur. It feeds on insects and seeds.

Local people say that, although they have known about the parrot because it has been captured in the past as a pet, they had not known about the mouse.

Both species were formally identified as a result of recent scientific expeditions on Camiguin combined with studies of museum exhibits that the fresh specimens could be compared against.

Lawrence Heaney, curator of mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago and a member of the research team, said that Camiguin was once covered in rainforest but, by 2001, just 18 per cent of the island was still forested.

"Knowing that at least 54 species of birds and at least 24 species of mammals live on Camiguin, and that some of these animals are found nowhere else on earth, makes us realise how important this island is in terms of conservation," Dr Heaney said.

"For these animals to survive, we've got to save the dwindling forests where they live," he said.

About 7,000 islands in the Philippines are known to be inhabited by species that are found nowhere else. That concentration of endemic species makes it an important conservation area, said Blas Tabaranza, of the Haribon Foundation, a Philippine conservation organisation in Manila.

"Unfortunately, the Philippines has also vaulted into notoriety as one of the most severely deforested tropical countries in the world," Mr Tabaranza said.

The discovery and description of the new species was the result of careful detective work.

"This description is based on a series of specimens that had been part of The Field Museum's collections for almost 40 years, so our work highlights the value of collecting and preserving specimens, because you may not initially realize the significance of specimens," said John Bates, Curator of Birds and Chair of Zoology at The Field Museum.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Developer - Xamarin

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Student Support Assistants - Part Time & Full Time

£14600 - £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are passionate about sup...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore