What is Manis Mysteria?

Sept. 28, 2023

Adding to the eight known species of pangolins, scientists recently discovered a ninth variety, tentatively named “Manis mysteria”.

About Manis Mysteria:

  • It is a newly discovered Pangolin species.
  • The newly identified pangolin species emerged from a detailed study of scales seized in China’s Yunnan province in 2015 and 2019.
  • This new species is believed to have diverged from its Philippine and Malayan relatives approximately five million years ago.

What are Pangolins?

  • They are mammals known for their distinctive appearance and protective scales.
  • They are often referred to as "scaly anteaters" due to their characteristic scales and their diet, which primarily consists of ants and termites.
  • Pangolins are found in parts of Africa and Asia and are known for their elusive nature and status as the most trafficked mammals in the world.
  • Features:
    • They are easily recognizable by their armor-like scales, which cover their bodies. These scales are made of keratin, the same protein found in human hair and nails. They are the only known mammals with this feature.
    • When threatened, pangolins can curl into a tight ball, with their scales forming a protective barrier.
    • Their diet consists mainly of ants and termites, which they capture using their long tongues (A pangolin’s tongue is longer than its body).
    • Pangolins have no teeththey chew with gravel and and keratinous spines inside the stomach.
    • They are most active at night and are solitary creatures.
  • Threat:
    • All pangolin species are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
    • The Indian pangolin, also called thick-tailed pangolin, is classified as Endangered under the IUCN Red List.