New Species of Rat, an ‘Island Giant’ from the Melanesian Archipelago

Main report: New species of Manus Island rat named after detainees in 'solidarity' gesture
(The Guardian)
Other Reporting: University of Turku
Scientific Paper: Journal of Mammology   
New Taxa: Rattus detentus
Species named for: Latin for 'detained'
Categories: Mammals | New Species
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Over millennia of isolation on Manus, detentus has adapted to conditions. It has powerful front incisors but small molars, suggesting it uses its front teeth to break open hard nuts. It is an “island giant”, larger than almost any rat across the Melanesian archipelago. A typical detentus weighs nearly half a kilogram, with short, very coarse fur and a short tail.

The new species of rat found on Manus Island, Rattus detentus, is larger than almost any rat across the Melanesian archipelago. Photograph: Journal of Mammalogy

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