Current Topic: A New Species of Round-eared Sengi (Genus Macroscelides)

A New Species of Round-eared Sengi (Genus Macroscelides)

While studying the systematics and taxonomy of round-eared sengis (genus Macroscelides), an unusual specimen from remote northwestern Namibia was collected. To determine if it represented a new species, 9 collecting trips with 5616 trap-nights of effort produced 16 voucher specimens. These specimens are distinguished from other Macroscelides species by morphological metrics (it is smaller), external features (rusty-colored pelage, large subcaudal gland, and lack of dark skin pigment), and by divergence at 3 independently-segregating DNA loci. These traits are the basis for the description of a new species of Macroscelides that seems to be confined to gravel plains associated with the distinctive reddish-colored Etendeka geological formation of northwestern Namibia. The new species, M. micus, is described by J. Dumbacher, G. Rathbun, T. Osborne, M. Griffin, and S. Eiseb in a paper published in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Science Daily, June 26, 2014: New species of small mammal: Round-eared elephant-shrew found in Namibia
Scientists have discovered a new species of round-eared sengi, or elephant-shrew, in the remote deserts of southwestern Africa. This is the third new species of sengi to be discovered in the wild in the past decade. It is also the smallest known member of the 19 sengis in the order Macroscelidea. Read article »

The Etendeka round-eared sengi, Macroscelides micus. Photo by G. Rathbun.

Typical gravel and cobble plain habitat of round-eared sengis in northwestern Namibia. Photo by G. Rathbun.