IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


11th December, 2023 Environment


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  • Scientists have identified a new species of the hedgehog genus Mesechinus living the scrubland and subtropical forests of eastern China.


  • Mesechinus is a small genus of mammals in the hedgehog family Erinaceidae.
  • The genus until now comprised four species from East Asia: Mesechinus dauuricus, Mesechinus hughi, Mesechinus miodon, and Mesechinus wangi.
  • Except for Mesechinus wangi, which is found in southwestern China, the other three species are mainly distributed in northern China and adjacent Mongolia and Siberia.
  • Mesechinus orientalis is a small-bodied hedgehog, similar to Mesechinus hughi, but smaller than other Mesechinus species.
  • It has the shortest spines in the genus (1.8-2 cm). There are four color rings on the spine from the base to the tip: two-thirds of the length is white at the base, followed by a 3-4 mm black ring, a narrow light ring, and a black tip.
  • The nose is brown, with black whiskers on the snout; these whiskers shorten towards the nose. The ears are small and nearly the same length as the surrounding spines.
  • Mesechinus orientalis appears to be sexually dimorphic. The pelage of males is generally gray, while that of most of the females is reddish brown.
  • The new species is currently known from southern Anhui and northwestern Zhejiang, both in eastern China.
  • It can be found in scrubland and subtropical broad-leaf evergreen forests at elevations from 30 to 700 m.
  • The new species is geographically isolated from its congeners by at least 1,000 km, and it is currently the southeasternmost species of
  • Mesechinus orientalis is a sister to the lineage composed of Mesechinus hughi and Mesechinus wangi from which it diverged approximately 1.1 million years ago.


  • The discovery of a new species of Mesechinus in eastern China has greatly expanded the known range of the genus and is vital in understanding the macroevolution of the genus.


Q. Recently, Mesechinus was in the news. What is it?

A.      Hedgehog species

B.      A Conifer

C.      Moss

D.      Lichen

Choose the correct code.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D


Option 1. A