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Voalavo is a genus of rodent in the subfamily Nesomyinae, found only in Madagascar. Two species are known, both of which live in mountain forest above 1250 m (4100 ft) altitude; V. gymnocaudus lives in northern Madagascar and V. antsahabensis is restricted to a small area in the central part of the island. The genus was discovered in 1994 and formally described in 1998. Within Nesomyinae, it is most closely related to the genus Eliurus, and DNA sequence data suggest that the current definitions of these two genera need to be changed. Species of Voalavo are small, gray, mouse-like rodents, among the smallest nesomyines. They lack the distinctive tuft of long hairs on the tail that is characteristic of Eliurus. The tail is long and females have six mammae. In Voalavo, there are two glands on the chest (absent in Eliurus) that produce a sweet-smelling musk in breeding males. In the skull, the facial skeleton is long and the braincase is smooth. The molars are somewhat high-crowned, though less so than in Eliurus, and the third molars are reduced in size and complexity. (Full article...)

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