Giant Land Lobster Not Extinct…. yet!

7 January, 2010

Excerpt from original article found at NewScientist.com. Find the full article and much more information there.

15 July 2006 by Stephanie Pain


On 14 June 1918, the supply ship Makambo struck a submerged rock off Lord Howe Island, a volcanic dot 780 kilometres north-east of Sydney, Australia. The cargo was salvaged and taken ashore to the island, which is a semi-tropical paradise, lushly forested and rich in plants and animals found nowhere else. Unfortunately, the ship’s rats came ashore too. They spread rapidly, soon dispatching several island species, including a giant wingless stick insect, or phasmid. By the 1930s, the Lord Howe Island phasmid (Dryococelus australis) was written off as extinct.

By all accounts, it had been a spectacular insect, so big the islanders called it the land lobster. Females grew up to 15 centimetres long, with bodies as thick as a finger and long, stout legs equipped with hooks. The slightly shorter males had peculiarly massive thighs armed with evil-looking spines. They couldn’t fly but they could run surprisingly fast.[...]

[...]

However, in 1964, a rock climber found a dead phasmid, not on Lord Howe Island but on Balls Pyramid, a remote spire of rock 24 kilometres to the south-east. Another climber found two more dead phasmids there in 1969, one lodged in a bush, the other as part of a seabird’s nest – a stick insect mistaken for a stick. Was the giant phasmid alive and well and living somewhere on Balls Pyramid? It seemed improbable. This was a creature of warm, damp forests that needed living trees with sizeable hollows to hide in. Balls Pyramid is the world’s highest sea stack, its sheer cliffs rising 550 metres. Isolated, exposed to high winds and with no apparent water supply, the islet has just a few scraps of vegetation and no trees. To everyone’s disappointment but no one’s surprise, every expedition that went in search of giant phasmids drew a blank.

This article from NewScientist is a must-read! A great recount of a fascinating story…
Long Live the Phasmids!

What tipped me off to Land Lobsters?  The Tree Lobsters! comic.  Science geeks beware- there’s hilarity afoot!  Don’t miss the secret messages under each comic.

And the Bug Girl’s Blog.


40+ Species Discovered in Crater of Volcano

14 September, 2009

Image Gallery

A team of scientists from Britain, the United States and Papua New Guinea found more than 40 previously unidentified species when they climbed into the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi and explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago. In a remarkably rich haul from just five weeks of exploration, the biologists discovered 16 frogs which have never before been recorded by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which may turn out to be the biggest in the world.

Full article.


1,068 Species Discovered in South East Asia!

1 April, 2009

The incredibly pink Dragon Millipede is able to shoot cyanide.

millipede

It’s one of over a thousand species found in the Greater Mekong in the past 10 years- that’s an average of 2 new species found per week for 10 years!

Find more info at WWF online!


Scientists Discover New Forest with Undiscovered Species on Google Earth

23 February, 2009

Conservationists have found a host of new species after discovering uncharted new territory on the internet map Google Earth.
googleforest

Excerpt from original article by Louise Gray,
Environment Correspondent

“The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country.

However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.

A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu.

In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake.

The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis.

So far three new butterflies and one new species of snake have been discovered but it is believed there are at least two more new species of plants and perhaps more new insects to discover. …”

Read the entire article  (and find more pics!) at the Telegraph.co.uk.

View many many more shots of the forest and animals at the Telegraph’s slideshow.


Parasite Turns Ant into Bird Bait

18 January, 2008
From an original article
posted at Physorg.com

ant.jpg
“When the ant Cephalotes atratus is infected with a parasitic nematode, its normally black abdomen turns red, resembling the many red berries in the tropical forest canopy. According to researchers, this is a strategy concocted by nematodes to entice birds to eat the normally unpalatable ant and spread the parasite in their droppings. (Steve Yanoviak/University of Arkansas)

Read the full article at Physorg.com


New Snake, Butterfly, and 9 Others Found in Vietnam

26 September, 2007

The tropical forests of Vietnam are throwing open their secrets, as scientists discover 11 new species including two types of butterfly and a snake.

The species, which also include five orchids and three other plants, are exclusive to the remote area in the centre of the country known as the “Green Corridor”, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) charity said.orchidaspidistra.jpg

A further 10 kinds of plant, including four orchids, are still being examined but are thought to be new species.

The WWF said the animals and plants, found in forests in the Annamites Mountains of Thua Thien Hue province where several mammal species were discovered in the 1990s, could represent the “tip of the iceberg” of new species.

Find the original article at the Daily Mail.


24 New Species Found by Rapid Assessment Program

29 June, 2007

Article from: AdelaideNow
June 05, 2007 05:00pm
SCIENTISTS say they have found two dozen new species in an expedition into a remote part of South America.

The Associated Press reported that an expedition by 13 scientists into the remote plateaus of eastern Suriname had turned up 24 new species, including a frog with fluorescent purple markings.

The expedition led by Conservation International discovered the species in 2005 in rainforests and swamps about 130 kilometers southeast of Paramaribo, the capital of the South American country bordering Brazil, Guyana and French Guiana.

Among the newly discovered species were the Atelopus frog, which has distinctive purple markings; six types of fish; 12 dung beetles, and one ant species… “


Above: Amazonian Snail-Eater Snake
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*Note: Aquarium enthusiasts will be interested in the discovery of several suckermouth catfish- at least 3 new species- one of which has a particularly large mouth, and another that is fond of RED algae… not to mention the appearance of the Armored catfish, which was believed to be extinct.

The original article (above) from AdelaideNow includes several pictures.
The Conservation International website has the full pdf file of the R.A.P. report.
The ABC News website has more pics- also high res.
Telegraph.co.uk has more pics- including some not on the previous sites.
Mongabay.com has a great article with more information.


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