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.


New Flying Fox Species Surprises Scientists

20 September, 2007
flying-fox.jpgExerpt from
original article
by Blake de Pastino
from National Geographic.com
September 18, 2007

This unusual species of flying fox was recently discovered in the Philippines not long after it was deemed not to exist.

Jake Esselstyn, a biologist with the University of Kansas, was among a team of researchers that found the animal, a type of fruit bat, last year while surveying forest life on the island of Mindoro.

“When we first arrived on Mindoro, a local resident that we hired as a guide described the bat to me in great detail, and he asked me what it was called,” Esselstyn said.

“I politely told him that there was no such bat. I was wrong.”

Several days into the survey, the scientists accidentally captured a creature in a net that fit the guide’s description: a large flying fox with bright orange fur and distinctive white stripes across its brow and jaw.

In his own defense, the scientist pointed out that the species’ closest known relative lives some 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) away on an island in Indonesia.

“It makes you wonder if there are other related species on islands between,” he said.

Read the full article at National Geographic!


Six New Species Found in Africa!

4 September, 2007
By Charles Q. Choi,
Special to LiveScience
posted: 07 August 2007
03:32 pm ET

In a once-lost forest in Africa, six animal species new to science have been discovered, members of a two-month expedition now reveal, including a bat, a rodent, two shrews and two frogs.newbat.jpg

“If we can find six new species in such a short period, it makes you wonder what else is out there,” said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Andrew Plumptre.

Read the entire article at LiveScience.com


New Genus: Relatives of Ancient Incan Pets

24 July, 2007
February 29, 2000
By Alex Kirby
environment correspondent
BBC News Online

Zoologists say they have made a “dramatic” discovery in the Peruvian Andes – a hitherto unknown genus of mammal.

andean-rat.jpg

The discovery of the animal, a tree rat the size of a domestic cat, was made by Dr Louise Emmons, a researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

She found it while climbing in the Vilcabamba mountains near the ruins of the Inca city of Macchu Picchu, an area which had not been researched before.

Dr Emmons was about 700 metres up the mountain when she came across the rat, which had just been killed by an Andean weasel. Read the entire article at BBC News.

[Note: This discovery was probably made in the 1990s, but since it wasn't made public until 2000, I've made the executive decision to include it here. I chose to do this mainly because there are several major discoveries made in the 1990s (ie: the Truong Son muntjac, the saola, the Laotian striped rabbit, and the Idaho Crossbill to name a few) which, by my own definition of this blog, can't be included here. So, this one is a new millennium species, if only just..]

Pygmy Hogs Saved by Durrell Wildlife Trust

29 June, 2007

pygmyhog.jpg

 

The world’s smallest and rarest pig, which was once feared extinct, is to be reintroduced to the wild. Pygmy hogs were thought to have been wiped out in the 1960s until two small populations were found in northern Assam in India in 1971.

A conservation programme that began at Durrell Wildlife in Jersey in 1995 when six were captured for breeding has been so successful that 70 of the 12in-tall hogs now fill the holding pens and the first 10 are to be released into the wild later this year.”

Read the excellent, complete article at Times Online.

Be sure to visit the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s website. Click the links in the left bar to see this, and other species they are working to save.

Read Gerald Durrell’s absolutely fantastic and marvelous (not to mention funny) books. He is the absolute origin of my passion for wildlife, folks. If you haven’t read “My Family and Other Animals” about his childhood growing up and collecting creatures on the island of Corfu, or “Catch Me a Colobus” about one of his hilarious adventures to collect species in the wilds of Africa…. well, if you haven’t yet, you are most certainly missing out! Trust me on this.

*Note: The book links above are to the Amazon reviews, but they are both available from the Trust’s website along with excellent videos and more. Purchasing there benefits them- and the animals- directly.


Discovered: Europe’s first new mammal in 100 years

24 October, 2006

By Mark Henderson, Science Editor
cypriotmouse.jpg

 

 

A NEW mammal species —
thought to be the first discovered in Europe for more than a century — has been identified by a scientist based at the University of Durham.

The grey mouse, found in Cyprus by Thomas Cucchi, has been confirmed as an entirely new species by genetic tests, overturning the widespread assumption that Europe had no mammals left to be discovered.

Read the full article at Times Online.


Found! 40 New Species in Virgin Brazil Rainforest

30 September, 2006

home_amapa2.jpg

Excerpts from
article
by Lewis Smith,
Times Environment Reporter

“Up to 40 new species of plants and animals, including a bird and a tree rat, have been discovered in an expedition to one of the world’s last unspoilt wildernesses.

newfrog_5f200px.jpg Researchers were particularly excited by the bird and the tree rat because new mammal and avian species are extremely rare. The discoveries have yet to be verified by peer review but Enrico Bernard, of Conservation International, is confident that 27 new species have been identified and that several more are contained among the thousands of specimens brought back for analysis.

lagarto_5f200px.jpg Besides the rat and the bird, the new species found include seven fish, eight frogs, lizards and snakes, two
shrimps and eight plants.
One species of lizard, [Amapasaurus tetradactylus], was rediscovered having been seen only twice before, both times in 1970. The lizard is unusual in having four fingers on its claws, whereas it closest relative has three.

“We have confirmed more than 1,700 species, of which more than 100 have been recorded for Amapá for the first time. Perhaps 40 of those are entirely new to science.

Among the creatures already known that were found in the region for the first time were 40 types of bat. Dr Enrico thought this if anything an underestimate. “There are potentially more than 100,” he added.The tree rat, from the genus makalata and the size of a large guinea-pig, lives with monkeys in the trees of the Amazonian tropical forest, where it eats only leaves and fruit.

The authorities in Brazil this week announced that 5.7 million hectares of the region is to be protected as the Amapá State Forest.”

Read the Full Aritcle at Times Online.

Thanks to Nutmeg for the scoop.


“Extinct” Almiqui Found by Farmer

1 August, 2006

Still Out There!

“HAVANA, Sept. 25 – With its long snout and tiny body covered with spiky, long brown hair, the worm-munching creature known as Solenodon cubanus long has been a mystery to zoologists, who believed it to be extinct. But a farmer in eastern Cuba recently found the first live specimen of the ancient and enigmatic creature seen in four years, local media said.

The find proved conclusively that Solenodon cubanus still survives, and raised hopes that the curious animal dubbed “Alejandrito” may have other relatives roaming the island. more…


New Parrot and Mouse Species Discovered in Philippines…

7 July, 2006

The two new species were discovered as the result of recent and earlier field studies.

The parrot is a Hanging-parrot, or Colasisi, with bright green feathers covering most of the body. The throat and thighs are bright blue, and the top of the head and tail are brilliant scarlet-orange. Males and females have identical plumage, which is quite unusual in this group of parrots.

The description is based on previously unstudied specimens in The Field Museum and the Delaware Museum of Natural History collected in the 1960′s by D. S. Rabor. The name for the new species is Loriculus camiguinensis, or Camiguin Hanging-parrot.

The new mammal is a Philippine forest mouse, now identified as Apomys camiguinensis. It has large ears and eyes, a long tail and rusty-brown fur, and it feeds mostly on insects and seeds.

The description is based on mice captured on Camiguin during a biological survey Heaney and Tabaranza conducted in 1994 and 1995, high on the steep slopes of one of the island’s volcanoes.

Local people had not previously known of the mouse, though they have known of the parrot because of its value in the pet trade.

Full article here… (has very interesting info about the conservation situation and endemic species in the Philippines!)


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