|Laotian Giant Flying Squirrel|
Biswamoyopterus laoensis Sanamxay, Douangboubpha, Bumrungsri, Xayavong, Xayaphet, Satasook & Bates 2013
A new species of the flying squirrel genus Biswamoyopterus is described from Lao PDR. It is based on a single specimen collected from a local food market at Ban Thongnami, Pak Kading District, Bolikhamxai Province. The new taxon shows close affinities to Biswamoyopterus biswasi, which is only known from the holotype collected in 1981, 1250 km from the current locality, in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India. However, it differs substantially in pelage colour, most particularly on the ventral surfaces of the body, patagia, tail membrane, and tail. The single specimen was found in an area of central Lao PDR, which is characterised by its extensive limestone karst formations and which is home to other rare endemic rodents, including the Kha-nyou (Laonastes aenigmamus) and the Lao limestone rat (Saxatilomys paulinae).
Key words: Southeast Asia, flying squirrel, taxonomy, bush meat
".. In September 2012, a team from the National University of Laos undertook a survey of flying squirrels in the informal food markets of northern, central and southern Lao PDR. In the market at Ban (village) Thongnami, Pak Kading District, Bolikhamxai Province, central Lao PDR (Fig. 1), they observed several species of Pteromyini including Hylopetes phayrei Blyth, Petaurista elegans Müller, and P. philippensis Elliot for sale as ‘bush-meat’. In addition, there was a female specimen of a large flying squirrel, which superficially resembled P. philippensis but differed in a number of external characters. On subsequent examination in the university museum, this individual was also found to have cranial and dental characters that clearly differentiated it not just from P. philippensis but from the genus Petaurista itself.
review of the literature confirmed that it was referable to the elusive genus Biswamoyopterus but that it differed specifically from B. biswasi. Therefore, it is described here as a new species to science, the second record of the genus, and the first record of the genus from Lao PDR and Southeast Asia..."
Sanamxay, D., Douangboubpha, B., Bumrungsri, S., Xayavong, S., Xayaphet, V., Satasook, C. & Bates, P. J. J. 2013. Rediscovery of Biswamoyopterus (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae: Pteromyini) in Asia, with the description of a new species from Lao PDR. Zootaxa. 3686(4): 471–481.