40+ Species Discovered in Crater of Volcano

14 September, 2009

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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.


Rat-eating plant discovered in Philippines – Telegraph

17 August, 2009

The plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is believed to be the largest meat-eating shrub, dissolving rats with acid-like enzymes.

The team of botanists, led by British experts Stewart McPherson and Alastair Robinson, found the plant on Mount Victoria in the Philippines.

[…]

They decided to name the plant Nepenthes attenboroughii, after the wildlife broadcaster Sir David.

Find the entire article at Telegraph.co.uk.

(Thanks to Crumpled-Wings for the heads-up on this most excellent discovery!)

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!


Tiny Indonesian Primate Rediscovered– NOT extinct (yet)!

25 November, 2008

From Mongabay.com:1119tar1

Scientists have rediscovered a long-lost species of primate on a remote island in Indonesia.

Conducting a survey of Mount Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park on the island of Sulawesi, a team led by Sharon Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M University captured three pygmy tarsiers, a tiny species of primate that was last collected in 1921 and was assumed to be extinct until 2000 when two scientists studying rats accidently trapped and killed an individual. Gursky-Doyen’s team spent two months using 276 mist nets to capture the gremlin-like creatures so they could be fitted with radio collars and tracked. One other individual was spotted but eluded capture.

Pygmy tarsiers are among the smallest and rarest primates in the world. The species is distinguished from tarsiers by its diminutive size (50 grams) and its fingers which 0628sulawesihave claws instead of nails, which Gursky-Doyen believes may be an adaptation to its mossy habitat some 7,000-8,000 feet (2,100-2,440) about sea level.

Read the full article, and find many more great photos (and a video!) of the pygmy tarsier at mongabay.com!

(thanks to mongabay for providing the great photos and map!)


Several New Species Found in Guyana

11 August, 2008

Ok, all- this is a big one. I’m posting the heads up (kindly forwarded to me by the Amateur Naturalist),  and will post more specifics if and when they come available:

from BBC News online:

An expedition to the rainforests of Guyana has discovered species new to science.

A team of researchers and wildlife film-makers spent six weeks searching the pristine forest as part of a BBC documentary.

The group believes it has revealed two fish species, one frog species and a number of bat flies that have not been described previously.

The finds are detailed in the BBC series Lost Land of the Jaguar.

The three-part documentary includes footage of the elusive South American cat.

Dr George McGavin (BBC)

Dr George McGavin was astonished at the variety of life on show

“In a short time, we caught hundreds of species, 10% of which may be new to science. It was unreal, unbelievable,” exclaimed Dr George McGavin, a zoologist and one of the four presenters of the documentary.

He added: “Catching is the easy bit, the hard bit is going back to the lab and examining the species, comparing them to collections and books – seeing if they are new to science. One hour in the field can equal hundreds of hours in the lab.”


New Shrew! er… “Sengi”

27 February, 2008
shrew.jpgFrom BBC news:

Despite its name, the creature, along with the 15 other known species of elephant shrew, is not actually related to shrews.

Dr Rathbun told the BBC News website: “Elephant shrews are only found in Africa. They were originally described as shrews because they superficially resembled shrews in Europe and in America.”

In fact, the creature is more closely related to a group of African mammals, which includes elephants, sea cows, aardvarks and hyraxes, having shared a common ancestor with them about 100 million years ago.

“This is why they are also known as sengis,” explained Dr Rathbun.

shrew1.jpgFrom Yahoo news:

The newcomer, dubbed Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, stands head and shoulders above his cousins, weighing in at a massive 700 grammes (1.5 pounds), about 25 percent larger than any other known sengi.

He was identified by scientists Galen Rathbun of the California Academy of Sciences and Francesco Rovero of the Museum of Natural Sciences in Trento, Italy.

Their discovery is published in the February issue of the British-based Journal of Zoology.

shrew2.jpg

“This is one of the most exciting discoveries of my career,” Rathbun, a 30-year veteran of sengi-watching, said in a press release.

“It is the first new species of giant elephant-shrew to be discovered in more than 126 years. From the moment I first lifted one of the animals into our photography tent, I knew it must be a new species — not just because of its distinct colouring, but because it was so heavy!”

Find the full BBC article here.

Read the rest of the Yahoo article here.

(thank you for reminding me, Ashley. I’ve been busy lately, and hadn’t gotten around to posting this one.)

update:

the Smithsonian recently had an elephant shrew birth!

(tho not of this new species, it has great footage of elephant shrews on the move!)



A Rodent as Big as a Bull?!

17 January, 2008
The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 16, 2008;
4:29 PM LONDON

giantrodent.jpg

– Eeek! Imagine a rodent that weighed a ton and was as big as a bull. Uruguayan scientists say they have uncovered fossil evidence of the biggest species of rodent ever found, one that scurried across wooded areas of South America about 4 million years ago, when the continent was not connected to North America.
A herbivore, the beast may have been a contemporary, and possibly prey, of saber-toothed cats _ a prehistoric version of Tom and Jerry.

For those afraid of rodents, forget hopping on a chair. Its huge skull, more than 20 inches long, suggested a beast more than eight feet long and weighing between 1,700 and 3,000 pounds….

Read the full article at the Washington Post online.


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