You Won't Believe The Size Of These Dust Bunnies!
The identity of the new species, which I have named the Semi-Domesticated Giant Dust Bunny (Cuniculus Dusticus), was verified by two independent research teams examining my old living room in South Tampa, a complex ecosystem long neglected by scientists.
After initial study researchers estimate that fewer than three thousand individuals of the Cuniculus Dusticus species exist, all in my former apartment. A formal census of the Semi-Domesticated Giant Dust Bunny's population is expected to land the species on the World Conservation Union's "critically endangered" list, with expectations of Enormous Amounts of Funding to follow.
Except for their incredibly large size (ranging from 4 to 6 inches in diameter), the Giant Dust Bunny strongly resembles its much smaller cousins. Their thick coats of lint, dust and pencil shavings are an adaptation to the apartment's sporadically air-conditioned habitat, where temperatures can range anywhere from 85 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity, researchers say. While adaptable to a wide range of elevations, the species tends to live at heights no greater than 1 inch off the floor, behind most of my furniture.
Greta Dingleberry, a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) biologist based in Tampa, Florida, led a team that aided in the discovery of the Giant Dust Bunny. The team found the species behind the sofa, behind the refrigerator, behind each bookcase, in the closet, under rugs, in the pantry, under the stove, behind cabinets, under chairs, and also in various nooks and crannies.
"A number of things distinguish it as a distinctly unique subspecies," she said. "But the primary one above all is the incredibly large size. In addition, the Giant Dust Bunny tends to prefer nooks rather than crannies, which are the favored habitat of its much smaller cousin, the Standard Domesticated Shorthaired Dust Bunny."
"Cuniculus Dusticus is definitely new to science", said Britta Hansing, a biological researcher at the University of South Florida in Tampa and an expert in the often contentious field of dust bunny classification, "It is actually quite amazing to discover such a large species in an urban area." Hansing estimates that the species previously managed to elude recognition by the outside world due to its low numbers, dull coloring, shyness and odd location.
Given that the status of the Giant Dust Bunny is likely to be even more critically endangered after I finish cleaning this weekend, the researchers have not captured an individual for detailed behavioral analysis, instead planning on an elaborate relocation effort to parts unknown.
However, scientists remain hopeful that additional previously unknown species might turn up in my old kitchen. This theory drives their continuing research, and emphasizes the fact that humanity still has so much left to learn, even in the twenty-first century.