Adding to the eight known species of pangolins, scientists recently discovered a ninth variety, tentatively named “Manis mysteria”.
About Manis Mysteria
- It is a newly discovered Pangolin species.
- The newly identified pangolin species emerged from a detailed study of scales seized in China’s Yunnan province in 2015 and 2019.
- This new species is believed to have diverged from its Philippine and Malayan relatives approximately five million years ago.
What are Pangolins?
- They are mammals known for their distinctive appearance and protective scales.
- They are often referred to as "scaly anteaters" due to their characteristic scales and their diet, which primarily consists of ants and termites.
- Pangolins are found in parts of Africa and Asia and are known for their elusive nature and status as the most trafficked mammals in the world.
- They are easily recognizable by their armor-like scales, which cover their bodies. These scales are made of keratin, the same protein found in human hair and nails. They are the only known mammals with this feature.
- When threatened, pangolins can curl into a tight ball, with their scales forming a protective barrier.
- Their diet consists mainly of ants and termites, which they capture using their long tongues (A pangolin’s tongue is longer than its body).
- Pangolins have no teeth; they chew with gravel and and keratinous spines inside the stomach.
- They are most active at night and are solitary creatures.
- All pangolin species are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- The Indian pangolin, also called thick-tailed pangolin, is classified as Endangered under the IUCN Red List.
Q1) What is the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)?
IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. Its experts are organised into six Commissions dedicated to species survival, environmental law, protected areas, social and economic policy, ecosystem management, and education and communication. Created in 1948, IUCN has evolved into the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network.