Aussie conservationists given hope after two new species of marsupials discovered

Eco 11/11/2020

Australian conservationists have been given a big glimmer of hope months on from the devestating bushfires that ravenged the country at the end of 2019 and well into 2020.

Two new species of marsupials have been discovered, and it's given them long term hope to the survival of the marsupial species.

According to a new study published in Nature's Scientific Reports journal, scientists found two new species of marsupial gliders in northern and central Australia

"Australia’s biodiversity just got a lot richer," Andrew Krockenberger, a professor at James Cook University and a co-author of the study, said in a news release. "It’s not every day that new mammals are confirmed, let alone two new mammals."

Scientists previously suspected the glider was several species due to the differences in their size, color, and physiology. However, there was never any sufficient proof.

"It changes the whole way we think about them," said JCU Ph.D. student Denise McGregor, who was also apart of the study.

Greater gliders, the original marsupial species, grow up to two feet long, eat only eucalyptus leaves, and live in forests along the Great Dividing Range from northern Queensland to southern Victoria. Although once considered common, they are now listed as "vulnerable", with their numbers declining, according to the study.

The newly discovered northern species is the smallest of the glider clan, growing up to about a foot long. It lives in the eucalyptus forests between Mackay and Cairns in Queensland. Meanwhile, the newly found central species lives in southern Queensland up to Mackay and is between the two other species in size, the study shows.

How cool!