NATIONAL

New species of flying squirrel discovered

Scientists have discovered a new species of flying squirrel in North America that had been hiding in plain sight for hundreds of years.

Known as Humboldt’s flying squirrel, or Glaucomys oregonensis , the new flying squirrel species inhabits the Pacific Coast region of North America.

Until now, these coastal populations were simply thought to be the already-known northern flying squirrel, researchers said.

“For 200 years, we thought we had only had one species of flying squirrel in the Northwest — until we looked at the nuclear genome, in addition to mitochondrial DNA, for the first time,” said Jim Kenagy, professor at the University of Washington in the U.S.

“It was a surprising discovery,” said Mr. Kenagy, co-author of the study published in the Journal of Mammalogy .

The Humboldt’s flying squirrel is known as a “cryptic” species — a species that was previously thought to be another, known species because the two look similar.

This new discovery is the 45th known species of flying squirrel in the world, researchers said.

Recommended for you