Monday, November 12, 2012

Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna

Zaglossus attenboroughi
Of the four extant species of Echidna, only one is named after one of the greatest naturalists alive-- Sir David Attenborough. Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna is also referred to as Attenborough's Echidna, and as teh Cyclops Long-beaked Echidna. "Cyclops" comes from the mountain range they live in-- the Cyclops Mountains in Papua, Indonesia.

The Sir David's Echidna is literally only found in that tiny region, so it is unsurprising that they are listed as Critically Endangered. They were actually thought to be extinct, since the last specimen was collected way back in 1961. However, local people claim that they have spotted the small Monotremes recently, and scientists have located "nose pokes" which are evidence that they are still around somewhere.

The aforementioned "nose pokes" are the holes created when the Echidnas stick their snouts into the soil in search of termites, worms, ants, and other underground invertebrates. Like all Echidnas, they lay eggs, and aside from breeding it is believed that they are solitary animals.

Scientists are working with the local peoples to preserve and protect the few Sir David's Long-beaked Echidnas left. There are only fives Monotremes in the world, and it would be very sad to lose one completely.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Island of New Guinea, Indonesia
Size : Length around 40in (1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Monotremata
Family : Tachyglossidae -- Genus : Zaglossus -- Species : Z. attenboroughi

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