Gnawless rat found in Indonesia

2012-08-23 16:55

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Jakarta - A unique species of near-toothless rat that lives off earthworms and doesn't chew or gnaw has been seen in Indonesia.

The shrew-like animal with a long, pointed snout was described online in this week's British journal Biology Letters. Paucidentomys vermidax, which translates loosely to "few-toothed rat" and "worm eater," is the only rodent out of more than 2 200 known species that does not have molars and instead has bicuspid upper incisors, it said.

Two rats were found in the mountainous rain forest of southern Sulawesi Island last year on Mount Latimojong and 100km northwest on Mount Gandangdewata.

Since it lacks cheek teeth, the rat sucks in earthworms and slices them with its incisors before spitting out the pieces and then slurping bites down whole, co-author Anang Achmadi from Indonesia's Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense said on Thursday.

The researchers said the discovery is important because it shows how rodents, which are known for biting and chewing, were forced to evolve to survive in Sulawesi's environment.

"What defines rodents is their capacity to gnaw with their ever-growing incisors, which are worn down to form chisels," said co-author Kevin Rowe, senior curator of mammals at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

"It's a remarkable evolution that a trait that's been so successful [and] has allowed rodents to chew into everything from seeds to felling trees to eating our garbage and chewing their way into our house, this species has given up on that capacity in the pursuit of its lifestyle, which appears to include eating earthworms."

The new rat demonstrates the island's unique biodiversity despite human threats from illegal logging and mining, Achmadi said.

- AP
Read more on:    indonesia  |  rodents
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Stand up paddler rides over shark!

This stand up paddler had no idea that a great white shark was directly beneath him when he went gliding out to shore.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.