Field of Science

Rodent Saturday!

Today's required rodent reading is this post on squirrels and cedar-mice by Christopher at Catalogue of Organisms. It includes a wonderful photo of an Indian giant squirrel eating what looks suspiciously like a fish biscuit.

Indian Giant Squirrel, Ratufa indica. Source.

ResearchBlogging.orgNow, for my contribution to Saturday's rodent blog, I will tell you about a new mouse species of the South American Akodon genus that was described earlier this year by Braun and colleagues in New species of Akodon (Rodentia: Cricetidae: Sigmodontinae) from central Argentina.

Species of the genus Akodon are unique to South America and live mostly along the Andes from Venezuela to the southernmost parts of the continent in a very diverse variety of habitats. The species described in this paper, Akodon viridescens, is native to the Cuyo Region in northwestern Argentina, particularly the Córdoba Montane Savanna.

Location of specimen collection. The shaded area is the Córdoba Montane Savanna.

The namesake for this new species comes from an unusual characteristic: the fur of this mouse species actually has an iridescent green hue in natural sunlight! I am imagining something akin to an old soda bottle in the sunlight. Unfortunately I could not find any images of these critters on the interwebs, but here's a photo of another Akodon spp. From Peru:

Look how adorable! What a dear little creature. Source.

The authors were at least kind enough to include a photo of the critter's skull, for those of you who like bones:

Skull and teeth of A. viridescens. Click to enlarge.

Braun, J., Mares, M., Coyner, B., & Van Den Bussche, R. (2010). New species of Akodon (Rodentia: Cricetidae: Sigmodontinae) from central Argentina Journal of Mammalogy, 91 (2), 387-400 DOI: 10.1644/09-MAMM-A-048.1

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