Terrestrial mammals in Lobo

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Hipposideros spp. © G. Semiadi / LIPI

Research teams left Lobo on Friday 31th October, an opportunity to review the field work so far. Here is an abstract on terrestrial mammals,

Target groups are rodents, bats and marsupials. The team was not able to spot any marsupial in Lobo, thus this taxon is not mentioned hereafter.

Small mammals are captured using modified Sherman traps (also known as Kasmin traps) and snap traps. Large mammal occurrence is recorded either by direct observation or by means of camera traps equipped with movement detectors that take short videos of the animals passing nearby. Unfortunately, most videos obtained so far show human beings (which are large mammals indeed!) or do not show any animal. Two camera traps were lost in the Lobo area, and there are only 8 remaining

For bats, species to be studied and collected in priority during the expedition are:

    1. Regarding cave’s bats and karst bats, there are candidates for new species in the families Emballonuridae and Hipposideridae in the West Papua region.
    2. The taxonomical status of bats from the Vespertilionidae family in the West Papua region is uncertain. Additional collection of specimens is required to clarify their taxonomical status.
    3. Flying fox is known to have a wide home range and an important role in spreading seeds. It acts as a reservoir for several viruses. This group is also interesting to study taxonomically in the West Papua region.

Objectives for Rodents:

The team wishes to document and collect specimens of the mammalian species inhabiting the Lengguru region. So far, there are almost no collections from this region and specimens from West Papua are still in low numbers. Morphologically, some species overlap in body measurements and are difficult to identify. Additional specimens are needed to clarify taxonomical status and species distribution in some genera (for example: Pogonomys and Pogonomelomys, Mallomys, Melomys and Paramelomys).

While some species have wide distributions across Papua (for example Rattus steini and praeotor), others have rarely been recorded and might have limited distributions. The team wishes to obtain information on the home range of the main rodent species, as most previous field trips in Papua were in lowland areas (< 500 m above sea level – asl). It is expected to collect specimens up to 1000 m asl, but this is not a priority. In Lobo, the team did not go higher than 400 m asl.

Additional objectives of the rodent team are:

    1. To compare habitat type and species distribution in particular in wet (near Urisa and Kumawa) and dense forest (near Lobo) in the karsts of West Papua.
    2. To understand the evolutionary and biogeography of the Lengguru rodent species, by comparing with neighbouring areas such as Australia and Papua New Guinea, through molecular studies.
    3. To find new species and possibly new genera from the unexplored Lengguru karst area.
    4. To collect additional specimens for species that are still in low numbers in the collections of the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense (for example, Uromys caudimaculatus and Xenuromys barbatus).
Echymipera kalubu © G. Semiadi / LIPI

Article written by Gono Semiadi, Nanang Supriatna and Apandi

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