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.The study was published in the Journal of Mammalogy on 30 May 2017. A species that was previously thought to be another, known species because the two look similar. Ultimately, it was DNA testing that revealed a third species unique to the Pacific Northwest.
Actually, all flying squirrels are a little bit weird. For starters, they don’t fly but glide, using a parachute-like membrane on both sides of their body that stretches from wrist to ankle. When they leap at a target tree, they spread their body into a square (a design some BASE jumpers have copied) and cover as much 150 feet in a single glide with great accuracy.
Highlights of flying squirrel –
1. The Humboldt’s flying squirrel is known as a cryptic species, a species that was previously thought to be another as the two look similar.
2. This new discovery of the Humboldt’s flying squirrel is the 45th known species of flying squirrel in the world.
3.These creatures do not actually fly like bats or birds. Rather, they glide from tree to tree by extending furred membranes of skin that stretch from the wrist of the forearm to the ankle on the hind leg.
4.These coastal populations were simply thought to be the already-known northern flying squirrel.
5.Their feather-like tail provides extra lift and also aids in steering.
6. Three species of flying squirrels in North and Central America are all small, nocturnally-active, gliding squirrels that live in woodland habitat.