Discovering New Antechinus
Over the last few years, my research team has been reviewing the systematics of the dasyurid marsupial genus Antechinus. In the course of this work, we have formally described three new species of antechinus, all from south-east Queensland. There is emerging evidence of several other new species within the genus from southern Australia. The team of scientists includes three PhD students, working on the basic ecology of each of the newly named species. Two of the new species appear to be limited geographically and steps are currently underway to list these animals as threatened under Queensland state legislation.
Hopefully, in the next few years as part of the PhD studies, the team will better understand the distributions of all three species to enable their Federal listing in a threatened category. The research to date could not have been conducted without the generous help of many collectors across Australia enabling a total evidence approach, explicitly linking genetics with morphology. The results beg the question: what other new mammal species are still hiding in our diverse Australian forests? The team seeks ear clips (genetics) and voucher specimens (morphology) from all antechinus species across Australia, in all locations. In particular, dusky antechinus (A. swainsonii) samples are sought from across their distribution in south-east Australia, especially Tasmania.
Scientists or collectors wishing to donate any and all antechinus samples should please contact me ASAP: Andrew Baker (Queensland University of Technology Science and Engineering); phone: 0424 272 051; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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