New Species Found in Machu Picchu’s Cloud Forest

Scientists say they have found at least six new species of animals living in the cloud forest near the citadel of Machu Picchu.

The ear-less aquatic rodent, found near Machu Picchu. Source: El Comercio

I The ear-less aquatic rodent discovered in the Machu Picchu cloud forests. Photo: Alexander Pari. Source: Mongabay.com

The new species identified, according to a report on Mongabay,  include one lizard, four frogs, and an unnamed water rodent that is noticeable for its lack of external ears.

The findings were made in 2012 during a survey of the Historic Sanctuary by a group of Peruvian and Mexican scientists. The team, led by Horacio Zeballos, curator of the Department of Mammalogy at the Museum de Arequipa and Gerardo Ceballos from the Instituto de Ecología of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, have since been formally working on the descriptions of the species.

Chinchilla arboreal - Machu PicchuIn addition to these findings, researchers also said they discovered an animal known as the arboreal chinchilla (Cuscomys oblativa), which was thought to have been extinct since the time of the Incas more than 300 years ago. The animal has greyish hair except for a white streak down the front of its head, and is about the size of a cat.

Machu Picchu - new lizard speciesThis mammal was first described from two skulls found in Inca pottery unearthed at Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1912, and was believed to have been extinct since before Pizarro’s arrival. In 2009, however, park ranger Roberto Quispe found one living near the citadel.

The frogs include one in the genus Telmatobius, which spends its life in small pools built by the Incas.  Two of the frog species are born as froglets, skipping the tadpole stage, and the fourth is a tree-dwelling species that is also known as a marsupial frog because it carries their young in a pouch.

 

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One Comment

  1. Hello there, I have a great picture of the Peruvian arboreal chinchilla. I took it when travelling to Machu Pichu and was amazing because I never saw something that like a mini Kangaroo. Let me know if the picture can be of interest.

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