A group of Indonesian and Danish zoologists have discovered a new genus of rat on Halmahera island in Indonesia’s North Maluku province.

Scientifically named Halmaheramys Bokimekot, the new rodent owns a unique set of characteristics such as a prominent tuft of spiny hair on its back, a white tip on its tail and three pairs of teats.

It was found close to Boki Mekot, a mountainous area under severe ecological threat due to mining and deforestation.

Dr. Pierre-Henri Fabre from the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, head of the group, stated that the new species highlights the large amount of unknown biodiversity in the Wallacean bio-geographical region and the importance of its conservation.

The genetic analysis revealed a western origin of this new genus, which reflects the unique transition zone found in the Indo-Pacific and requires deeper scientific investigation, he said.-VNA