Aussie researchers have discovered that the greater glider is not one species, but three!
Ever seen one of these cuties in the wild? The greater glider is pretty common around Australia’s East Coast, especially along the Great Dividing Range.
Fluffier and more glidey than a possum, there have always been differences in size and colour of the greater glider, depending on where in the country you find them.
A team of geniuses from The CSIRO and a bunch of Aussie unis’ recently ran genetic tests on tissue samples from gliders in Queensland and Victoria, plus some museum specimens.
Turns out that we’ve been lumping all greater gliders in together, when actually, there are three separate species! Whatta ya know?
The study, published in Scientific Reports, suggests that the three species’ main differences depend on where they’re found, and can be divided into northern, central and southern groups.
It’s pretty cool that Australia just gained an extra two kinds of marsupial, (Petauroides minor and Petauroides armillatus), but this means that the number of already vulnerable greater gliders (Petauroides volans) has greatly diminished.
‘The division of the greater glider into multiple species reduces the previous widespread distribution of the original species, further increasing conservation concern for that animal and highlighting the lack of information about the other greater glider species,’ says ANU’s Dr Kara Youngentob.
Feature photo thanks to CNN