What is Mesechinus orientalis?

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What is Mesechinus orientalis? Blog Image


Scientists recently identified a new species of hedgehog, Mesechinus orientalis, living in the scrubland and subtropical forests of eastern China.

About Mesechinus orientalis

  • It is a new species of Hedgehog.
  • It is currently known from southern Anhui and northwestern Zhejiang, both in eastern China.
  • It is currently the southeasternmost species of Mesechinus (Mesechinus is a small genus of mammals in the hedgehog family).
  • Habitat: It can be found in scrubland and subtropical broad-leaf evergreen forests at elevations from 30 to 700 m.
  • Features:
    • It is a small-bodied hedgehog.
    • It has the shortest spines in the genus (1.8-2 cm). 
    • There are four color rings on the spine, from the base to the tip.
    • The nose is brown, with black whiskers on the snout; these whiskers shorten towards the nose.
    • The ears are small and nearly the same length as the surrounding spines.
    • It appears to be sexually dimorphic. The pelage of males is generally gray, while that of most of the females is reddish brown.

Key Facts about Hedgehog

  • Hedgehogs are a distinctive group of spiney insectivorous mammals comprising the subfamily Erinaceinae of the Erinaceidae family.
  • They are found across Eurasia and Africa but absent from Australia and the Americas.
  • Their most notable features are their spines, which are enlarged hollow hairs, and ability to roll into a ball when frightened, presenting only these spines to the outside world. 

Q1) What are evergreen forests?

Evergreen forests are forests in which there is no complete, seasonal loss of leaves (i.e., trees shed old leaves and produce new ones throughout the year, rather than during particular periods). The trees may be conifers or hardwoods. The distribution of these forests ranges through boreal, middle, and tropical latitudes. The northern coniferous forests and the equatorial rain forests (see tropical rain forests) are the most extensive evergreen forests. 

Source: New Species of Forest Hedgehog Discovered in China