A new paper published in the Journal of Mammalogy describes a new species of big-eared climbing rat from Chiapas, Mexico. The new species, Ototylomys chiapensis Porter et al. 2017, the La Pera big-eared climbing rat, is characterized by a host of unique morphological and molecular characters. Based on these data, the specimens collected from 11 kilometers northwest of Berriozabál at Pazo de Petrόleo were identified as unique and different from the previously described Ototylomys phyllotis. The Sternberg specimen (FHSM 9092), which includes both skin and skull, was included in the species description (paratype) and currently is the only known individual collected outside of the type locality described above. This specimen, originally identified as O. phyllotis, was collected in 1970, 26 kilometers north of Ocozocoautla. It is suggested that this species could be critically endangered due to only two known localities and the reduction in the extent and quality of the habitat at or near these locations. The authors located this specimen in the Sternberg mammalogy collection by searching VertNet, a global database with which Sternberg shares its data in order to make the data more accessable and maximize the use of our invaluable collections. This is just one case of the value of scientific collections in our museum, as well as those around the world.
Porter, C.A., N.E. Beasley, N. Ordόñez-Garza, L.L. Lindsey, D.S. Rogers, N. Lewis-Rogers, J.W. Sites, Jr., and R.D Bradley. 2017. A new species of big-eared climbing rat, genus Ototylomys (Cricetidae: Tylomyinae), from Chiapas, Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy 98 (5), pp. 1310-1329.
Curtis J. Schmidt
Zoological Collections Manager
Photograph of the paratype of the La Pera big-eared climbing rat (Ototylomys chiapensis Porter et al. 2017) housed in the Sternberg mammal collection.