Two new native mice have scurried into the list of Australian mammal species!

The words “species” and “Australia” are unfortunately traditionally linked to their disappearance from our continent’s highly biodiverse ecosystem.

Following from last year’s discovery of a very much alive mouse species which was previously thought to be extinct in the wild, researchers have discovered two new species that were initially bundled together with a third. This amazing discovery, supported in parts by the Oz Mammals Genomics initiative, was recently published in the journal of Molecular ecology.

The newly expanded group of these delicate mice now shows that these three small rodents are found in three distinct regions of the northern part of the Australian continent, where they each fulfil very important environmental roles.

Despite the good news of adding, instead of removing, Australian species to the list, the outlook for these adorable critters is still bleak. On top of the ongoing immediate threats from feral cats, habitat clearing and introduced diseases, these delicate mice are specialised to unique Australian environments that are likely going to disappear by the end of the century. Their discovery and official recognition will help define their conservation needs for the future.

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