New species found in Madagascar!

Where are they all coming from?

From Wired Science:

New, Cat-Sized Carnivore Found in Madagascar

An unknown, mongoose-like creature has been discovered in the wetlands of Madagascar. To the satisfaction of anyone who delights in new species discoveries but wishes they were a bit more charismatic, this cat-sized carnivore’s got heft. Biologists photographed the creature while surveying lemurs in 2004. It resembled the brown-tailed mongoose, an inhabitant of Madagascar’s eastern jungles that was first described in 1837 by French zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire.


Image: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Salanoia durrelli


Further inspection, however, revealed differences between skulls, paws and teeth. The new creature is formally described in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity. Because it was discovered by researchers from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, founded by naturalist and author Gerald Durrell, the new animal has been named Salanoia durrelli, or the Durrell’s vontsira.

That the vontsira would be found on Madagascar is unsurprising. While most new land-dwelling species are small and easily overlooked, tropical jungles contain Earth’s last few unexplored and uninhabited pockets of terrestrial life. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot with no fewer than 15 unique families of animals.

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